For Sri Lankans: Dr David Young Honoured for His Medical Work

Item in the Sunday Times, 1 September 2019

His many friends across Sri Lanka hailed the Presidential award of the ‘Sri Lanka Ranjana’ to distinguished Australian orthopaedic surgeon Dr. David Alexander Young for his services to the country describing it as ‘well deserved’. The Presidential Awards ceremony was held at the BMICH on August 19. The Sri Lanka Ranjana is the second highest honour awarded to non-nationals for ‘praiseworthy services’ to the nation.

Lankan cricketing great Kumar Sangakkara said, “I am delighted that the efforts of Dr. David Young in his charitable endeavours in Sri Lanka are being recognized nationally. It has been a long time coming and to say it is well deserved is an understatement.”

Dr Young is known in the sporting fraternity for his contribution to Sri Lanka cricket, having treated and cared for many of the country’s star cricketers and athletes over the years. His care extended to sportsmen in fields from athletics to rugby and badminton. He has worked closely with the Orthopaedic Association of Sri Lanka and was instrumental in the setting up of a Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka and Australia – the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital Emergency and Accident Project (Project BEAP).

The state of the art Accident & Emergency Service the foundation built within the Teaching Hospital in Batticaloa was opened in 2018 and now serves the people of the Eastern Province.

In a statement, Sangakkara said his association with Dr. Young had started many years ago through his work with Sri Lanka cricket. “He has been over the years a passionate and deeply loyal fan and an advocate of the cricketers of Sri Lanka. His work with Murali (Muttiah Muralidharan) during the difficult times of the throwing allegations made it obvious that Sri Lanka possessed a bowler of immense, unorthodox talent who bowled well within the laws of the game. His work as a surgeon has helped so many of our cricketers, with the inclusion of myself, to get back to playing following injury.

“His love for our cricket and cricketers has engendered in him a deep love for Sri Lanka as a country. His work in conceptualizing and completing the Accident and Emergency Service wards in Karapitiya, Galle and Batticaloa shows his deep commitment to, and affection for, our people.

“David, like all in his profession is a highly skilled and intelligent professional with a curious mind, but what sets him truly apart is his nature. He is generous, loyal, and his heart is large and soft. Ever ready to help, ever ready to be of service to others, ever ready and willing to give of himself. I am very grateful for his service to my country and am fortunate to call him friend.”

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, National Hospital and President-elect of the Sri Lanka Orthopaedic Association (SLOA) Dr. V. Swarnakumar said Dr. Young had been offered a fellowship by the Sri Lanka Orthopaedic Association (SLOA) for his invaluable service in Sri Lanka. “Dr David Young loves Sri Lanka and has treated many Sri Lankan sports personnel. Since the Tsunami in 2004 he has helped in establishing and expanding orthopaedic services in Sri Lanka especially and contributed to Batticaloa, Ampara and Karapitiya Hospitals. The newly built Accident and Emergency Departments in Karapitiya and Batticaloa are due to his personal efforts.

Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama commended his work with rugby players. “He has been a source of strength to all our rugby players. With the assistance of Dr Wasantha Perera, Dr Swarnakumar and Dr Ashan Abeywardena, he has done many complicated surgeries on our players. As a result they have been able to get back on the field quickly. Dr. David was instrumental in setting up the Trauma centre at Batticaloa hospital along with Nihal De Run and it was only due to his perseverance and commitment that the project was completed.”

Dr. M.S. Ibralebbe, former Director, Teaching Hospital Batticaloa said the state-of-the art Accident and Emergency Care Service Unit was able to manage the 21/4 bomb blast with more than 100 casualties without any hardship.

“He (Dr. Young) and well-wishers worked tirelessly towards this goal along with the Ministry of Health and was able to establish the unit in 2018. In addition to the construction of the building, they have contributed for medical equipment, hospital furniture and training of staff attached to this unit. This facility is being fully used and providing the expected service to the people of the Eastern Province and adjacent districts,” Dr. Iralebbe said.

“The contribution made by Dr. David Young and his well-wishers will be remembered for ever and it will be written in golden letters in the history of the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital. It was a huge humanitarian assistance provided to the Eastern Province and adjacent districts and will contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic status of Sri Lanka,” he added.

Michael Jayasekera, Chairman of the Selection Committee of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union said, “We are extremely fortunate that Dr. David Young opted to ‘adopt’ Sri Lanka! His contribution towards our sportsmen over the years with proper diagnosis of complicated injuries and surgical correction is now legendary! His determination to set up the Trauma Centre in Batticaloa amidst many obstacles and challenges bears testimony to his love for Sri Lanka. A kind, compassionate human being whose generosity is boundless, this is an honour well deserved!

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