Anything to help others

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GIFT OF GIVING: Local doctor Ravindra Abeyawardana has practised as a general practitioner at South Wangaratta Medical Centre for two years now and has found joy in helping members of the community. PHOTO: Leah Anderson-Byrne

NOT everybody is willing to sacrifice their time, energy and even blood to assist other people, but for Doctor Ravindra Abeyawardana, it’s become a life-long passion.

The South Wangaratta Medical Centre general practitioner knew he wanted to help people within his community as a doctor decades ago.

“Back when I was younger I was ambitious and wanted to become a doctor, so my parents helped me work towards it,” Dr Abeyawardana said

“There’s been a lot of hard work, I had to go through exams in Sri Lanka to qualify for university and follow my degree.

“I was keen to join general practice because I was doing it at a hospital in Sri Lanka, so I applied to several places with vacancies here and they were happy to take me on board at the clinic.”

The 45-year-old said he has encountered many special moments throughout his career.

“I’ve diagnosed a lot of acute problems, chronic problems and helped people,” he said.

“When I was working in Sri Lanka there were a couple of patients rushed into the hospital after a motor vehicle accident.

“One patient was really in a bad way and was rushed to the theatre, we had to give blood to the patient but there was no blood at the time.

“Luckily, my blood matched with theirs, so I gave mine and assisted during the operation as well.”

Dr Abeyawardana has been practising in Wangaratta for two years after a 15-year career in Sri Lanka.

“I love seeing patients get better, diagnosing things that were not diagnosed before, facing challenging consultations and helping patients get better,” he said.

“I try to put myself in the patient’s shoes, so when they come in with particular symptoms I try to think about what I’d want my doctor to do for me, so I always try my best.”

Beyond helping people within his local community, Dr Abeyawardana spends his free time indulging in his own hobbies.

“I really like to travel, see places and meet people,” he said.

“I love playing and watching cricket, being from Sri Lanka, cricket is in our blood.

“I’m planning to do my fellowship and if I’m able to qualify and get through exams I can keep progressing.”

Dr Abeyawardana and other GPs across Australia will be celebrated for their hard work and dedication as part of the Australian Medical Association’s Family Doctor Week commencing from July 21 to July 27.

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