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Biographical entry Vaithilingam, Puspanathan Sadasivan (1927 - 1983)

MRCS and FRCS 1959; LRCP&S Ed 1951; LRCP&S Glasg 1951.

19 September 1927
17 September 1983
General surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Puspanathan Sadasivan Vaithilingam was born in Durham on 19 September 1927, the eldest son in a family of eight brothers and one sister. His father, Sadasivan Vaithilingam, was a successful farmer, and his mother was Pappathee, née Reddy. After schooling at Sastri College he emigrated to Scotland in 1945 when he was eighteen years old and was enrolled as a medical student in Edinburgh where he obtained the Scottish Triple Diploma in 1951. He was the first South African Indian to qualify in medicine overseas. After junior posts, mainly at the Royal Infirmary, Sunderland, he passed his FRCS examination in 1959. From 1960 to 1963 he was senior casualty officer at the same hospital. In 1964 he was appointed surgical specialist at the Muhimbili Hospital, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. His experience in accident surgery enabled him to reorganise the management of the large number of fractures of the spine and limbs associated with coconut farming. He was also appointed consultant surgeon to the Aga Khan Hospital and lecturer in surgery at the University of Dar-es-Salaam.

In 1975 he moved to Canada to join his two brothers who had qualified in Dublin and were in practice in Mississauga. He was appointed an associate surgeon to the local hospital but was unhappy not to be practising surgery full time and in 1978 he returned home to St Aidan's Hospital, Durban. His work was confined to orthopaedic surgery.

His main hobbies were fishing and photography but he also enjoyed flying, sailing, dancing and tennis. He married Doreen May Gibson in 1956 and they had a daughter, Neela Elizabeth in 1966 and a son, Sivan Victor in 1969. They divorced in 1974. On 16 August 1979 he married Satyabhama Moodley and their son Vimlen was born in Calgary in 1982.

When he died of a myocardial infarct on 17 September 1983 he was survived by both wives and his three children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Mrs S Vaithilingam].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England