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Daily News

12-March-96                       General News

Lankan doctor in USA offers help for war victims

By Edward Arambawela

DR. JITH Goonewardena a Sri Lankan doctor in America yesterday had formal
discussions with Industrial Development Minister C. V. Gooneratne and Major
General Dr. V. Thurairaja, Director Army Hospital for a program of
orthopaedic, vascular and neuro surgery operations on the injured security
personnel in the army hospital.

Dr. Goonewardena who is working as a surgeon in the Saratoga and Holy Cross
Hospitals in USA contacted Minister Gooneratne last December and had
indicated his willingness to this program as a service to his country and
the people.

Minister Gooneratne said immediately he received the call from Dr.
Goonewardena, he had communicated to the President the offer by this
patriotic son of Sri Lanka. The President had then given the Minister the
approval to go ahead and coordinate the program.

Mr. Gooneratne said thereafter he got in touch with the Health Ministry, and
the Army Hospital Director Major General Dr. Thurairaja and had an initial
discussion with them.

Following this meeting Dr. Goonewardena is now here to finalise arrangements
for the program. He expects to get the team of doctors here by June.

Major General Dr. Thurairaja said that there are about 1,333 injured in the
armed forces some of whom are in need of sophisticated orthopaedic, vascular
and neuro surgery.

He said the Army hospital will supply the case histories of these patients
to Dr. Goonawardena, to be taken to the States, so that he could select the
team of surgeons to be brought here.

He said the surgical team will comprise Argentinian, Indian and Goanese
nationals who are working in the States.

These doctors will bring some of the equipment needed for their work, which
would be donated to the Army hospital later.

Mr. Gooneratne, on behalf of the government thanked Dr. Goonawardena who is
an old Thomian, and who left Sri Lanka about 20 years ago for UK and later
the States, for thinking about his mother country at this hour of need, and
for his magnanimous gesture in coming forward to help in the medical field.

Mr. Nihal Goonewardena brother of Dr. Jith Goonawardena also attended the