A memorial service for the late Dr. A.T.S. Paul, one of Sri Lanka's most eminent cardiothoracic surgeons will be held in Colombo on September 5, on the late surgeon's 93rd birth anniversary, his son Dr. Suren Paul said in London. The service will be at the Colpetty Methodist Church at 7 p.m.
The London Times on August 5 published the following obituary on the late Dr. A.T.S.Paul. He died on April 28, 2008 in Colombo:
"Dr A. T. S. Paul, cardiothoracic surgeon, was born on September 15 1915. He died on April 28, 2008, aged 92.
"A. T. S. Paul was a pioneer cardiothoracic surgeon who established the first such unit in the General Hospital, Colombo, now the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, in 1951. It was initially set up with the intention of treating pulmonary tuberculosis for which there was no cure at the time. With the introduction of streptomycin, the need for thoracic surgery diminished. But large numbers of patients needed surgery for rheumatic valvular heart disease, particularly mitral stenosis which affects the valve on the left side of the heart - a crippling condition that can result in severe disability and death. It had become possible to operate on the beating heart and a handful of surgeons spearheaded this effort. "Paul went on to develop a wide experience in the field of mitral stenosis, especially among children, in recognition of which he was awarded a Hunterian professorship by the Royal College of Surgeons.
He went on to develop open-heart surgery, initially using hypothermia, which allowed the surgeon a few minutes to close holes in the upper chamber of the hear, then performing a cardio-pulmonary bypass, where the function of the heart is taken over for an hour, which allows time for heart-valve replacement surgery and more complex procedures, to correct congenital heart conditions such as Fallot's tetralogy (blue baby syndrome). Paul also designed and built a portable heart-lung machine and a kidney machine.
"Leaving his post in Colombo he moved to the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, and set up a cardiac surgical unit. After his retirement from this position, he became involved with human rights both as director of the Sri Lanka Institute, a German-funded Sri Lankan government organisation, and in his frequent articles for the Colombo newspapers.
"Paul wrote two books: My Trek to the Heart, his autobiography, in 2004, and a genealogy of the Colombo Chetties."