It was exactly 30 years ago that my youngest son was ushered into this world by the brilliant and skillful obstetrician Dr Nisal Kurukulasuirya who was fondly known as Bunty to many.
His endless compassion was equal only to his talent and capabilities as a brilliant professional in his chosen field. Warm and unassuming, he would put his patients at ease almost immediately with his large heart, and his beaming, dimpled smile.
It is with deep gratitude that I remember this wonderful man who saved both mother and baby three decades ago through sheer virtuosity from a complicated pregnancy, punctuated with numerous problems.
Bunty was a bright star at Royal College and in hindsight, it was my father-in-law who had the privilege of teaching this young star perhaps in rugby, Math and Physics (in that order)! With complications rife and mixed signals from different Obstetricians, my father-in-law, in his wisdom insisted that I should consult his brilliant pupil who was then the Head of the De Soysa Maternity Home.
Dr. Kurukulasuriya at the helm, though very busy, was quick to see us at his old teacher’s request. He was extremely adept at his clinical assessments and having diagnosed my condition, he assured my father-in-law in his inimitable style ‘Sir, this is the best place for her’ with absolute confidence and knowing well that the hospital under his command was equipped to deal with such exigencies.
Dr. Kurukulasuriya was quick to see us at his old teacher’s request. He was extremely adept at his clinical assessments and having diagnosed my condition, he assured my father-in-law in his inimitable style ‘Sir, this is the best place for her’
At his behest, I carried at all times a ‘SOS’ card given to me by the hospital for any distress signals for immediate admission and surely with more than six weeks before due date, I was admitted with complications for the final episode of this adventure.
I recall that morning, the theatre teeming with men in white coats and just before I slipped into oblivion from the effects of anesthesia, I was relieved to overhear that they were Bunty’s medical students from the Colombo University keen to bear witness to an unusual and complicated case study.
Dr. Kurukulasuirya’s prowess and dexterity guided him to perform a flawless Classical Cesarean section to salvage a premature baby lying across, whilst navigating through life-threatening complications of major degree placenta previa that beset me; thus minimizing the risks of a potentially fatal hemorrhage to save both our lives with God’s grace.
The birth of a child is a divine miracle and every mother will never forget the unparalleled experience of giving birth to her precious child with wonder and amazement and in Dr. Kurukulasuirya’s long and distinguished career he may have ushered into this world many hundreds of babies. I stand with these mothers to honour and celebrate this great man with heartfelt gratitude.
Today as my son, Stefan celebrates his 30th birthday, grown in stature and pleasing God in his journey, he is a far cry from the tiny ‘ET’ lookalike I first beheld three decades ago. I believe, Dr. Kurukulasuriya was God’s instrument on earth and a guardian angel assigned to us to intervene in a divine miracle.
We were greatly saddened by the untimely passing away of Dr. Kurukulasuriya, but he will remain forever, our hero. Words fail us to comfort his beloved wife and his family, although the void is irreplaceable, his legacy will live on.
‘They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old: Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will Remember them.’