Obituary - Dr Reginald Say Wan Lim

Dr Reginald Say Wan Lim

1939 to 2008

MBBS (S’pore), FRCA (Eng.), FCA,RCS(Ireland), FANZCA, FAMM, Hon FRACP(Aust.), Hon FACP (USA), FRCPS (Glasgow), Hon FAFP (M’sia) Consultant Anaesthetist

Born on 7 June 1939 and educated at the Penang Free School in Malaysia, Say Wan graduated MBBS from the University of Singapore in 1963. Represented Singapore in badminton 1957-63 and won the Singapore Open Doubles Championship in 1961, partnering Ong Poh Lim. He served in the Ministry of Health, Malaysia before proceeding for postgraduate studies in the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom in 1966. He became a Fellow of the Irish and English Faculties of Anaesthetists (presently FCARCSI and FRCA respectively) in 1967 and the Australasian Faculty (presently the FANZCA) in 1974. He then served as a Lecturer in Anaesthesiology in the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur until entering private practice in late 1969.

Dr Lim has been actively involved in improving the delivery of health and medical services and postgraduate medical education at the national, regional and international level in the past 30 years, during the course of which he has been President of the Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists (1974), President of the Malaysian Medical Association (1982), President of the Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (1983-85), Chairman of the Asian-Australasian Regional Section of Anaesthesiologists (1982-86), Master of the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (1984-90), President (1992-96) of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA), Adviser to the World Health Organisation (1983 and 1995), etc.

Dr Lim has been honoured as – Honorary Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (1988), Honorary Fellow of the American College of Physicians (1989), Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (1990), Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia (2002), Honorary Member of – the Cuban Society of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation (1995), the Japan Society of Anesthesiology (1996) and the Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists (2003), the Gold Medal of the Alumni Association of the Faculties of Medicine of the University of Malaya and the University of Singapore (2000), the Medal of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (2001), the Plaque of Honour of the Asian & Oceanic Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine (2003) and the 2nd Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Award of the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (2006). His civil awards include the Key to the City of Havana, Cuba (1995), JSM by the King of Malaysia (1997) and DPMP by the Sultan of Perak (2000).

Driven to improve prospects in the medical profession and to further the welfare of his colleagues, Dr Lim was inclined to pursue change from 'within'. He will probably be remembered for championing the interests of the Asian-Australasian region and developing countries during his 20-year stint in the WFSA as Membership Committee Member (1976-80), Executive Committee Member (1980-84), Chairman of the Executive Committee (1984-88), Secretary (1988-92) and finally as President of the WFSA (1992-96).

He retired from practice at end-2001 and devoted his time to Freemasonry, a pursuit that occupied him for over 30 years and from which he derived much satisfaction. Soon after retirement, he was diagnosed with oral malignancy and underwent extensive surgery and radiotherapy. Surviving that, he was in early 2008 diagnosed with lung malignancy for which he underwent chemotherapy. He passed away on 1 December 2008 and is survived by his wife, Jeannie (BSc(Hons), Malaysia), whom he married in 1968 and three sons, Julian (LLB, Hull), Justin (MBBCh, Cardiff, FRCS Trauma and Orthopaedics (England)) and Johann (MEng Computing, ImpColl).

Justin Lim