From kidney transplant pioneer to patient – Personal saga of Professor Rezvi Sheriff

Professor Rezvi Sheriff a well known Physician and Nephrologist in Sri Lanka is known as the “father of Nephrology”. He pioneered kidney transplantation in Sri Lanka with the first kidney transplant being performed in 1985 with the help of the University of Colombo and team that included Professor A.H. Sherifdeen and Professor Geri Jayasekara. This was a great boost for patients in this country who used to seek treatment in India.

Recently, the pioneer in kidney transplantation was required to undergo a kidney transplant himself. Despite many large local institutions in close proximity and international centers worldwide to undertake the transplant, Professor Sheriff decided to undergo the transplant at Western Infirmary/Western Hospital (WH). Professor Sheriff is 73 years old, has diabetes, hypertension and other complications and was considered to be a high risk patient for transplantation, but he had the confidence to undertake the transplant in WH.

The transplant was headed by Dr Chula Herath lead Nephrologist and the surgical team was headed by Dr Ranjuka Ubeyasisri consultant Surgeon from Karapitiya Hospital. A Highly experience and skilled team ranging from Surgeons (Prof. Lailitha Piyarisi, Dr K. Umarshankar), Assistant Surgeons (Dr Gayan, Dr Joel Arunchelvam, Dr S. Shiyanth), Cardiolgists (Dr Namal Wijesinghe), cardiac electrophysiologist (Dr Asanga Dunuwila), anesthetists (Dr K.A.P. Dhammika, Dr N. Niluka), physicians (Professor S. Jayasinghe, Dr. Sachinthanathan), Respiratory Physician(Dr Aflal), Endocrinologists (Dr Prasad Katulanda), in-house doctors (Dr Fareena Jabir, Dr A.J. Rifkhan, Dr Habeeba), specialist nurses (Sister Deepani, Sister Jayanthi, Ms Sanuja, Mr. Charith, Ms. Lakshmi, Ms.Akalanka, Ms. Bhavani) and other maintenance, attendant and support staff undertook the transplantation. The coordination of the whole transplant was successfully undertaken by the daughter of Professor Sheriff Dr Habeeba Sheriff who is an SMO in Nephrology and Transplantation at Sri Jayawardenepura Hospital, assisted by his sons CEO Dr Omar Sheriff of Western Hospital and Dr Rikaz Sheriff SMO at National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Angoda.

Religious ceremonies were conducted in mosques, temples, kovils and churches to ensure the smooth and successful transplant. Furthermore many philanthropic deeds were also undertaken to gain blessings including providing aid to orphanages, alms giving for the poor near temples, and food for the poor near mosques.

Professor Sheriff’s kidney transplant surgery went smoothly and successfully with no major complications observed post-surgery. Professor Sheriff thanked all involved in the operation where he stated “I would like to give a special thanks to every section in WH, this maybe my institution but without hesitation I would like to say that this is the best and safest facility in this country for KT’s.”

He is expected to recover quickly in the coming days and will get back to work at the Kothalawela Defence University where he is expected to start a kidney transplant programme soon

The Sunday Times

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