The Friend in Need Society Hospital at Jaffna, established by Ackland Dyke, the Government Agent, N.P., with the assistance of Dr.Green and in collaboration with the Friend-in-Need Society of Jaffna. This hospital has grown into what is now the Teaching Hospital, Jaffna. From 1850-1907, the medical staff of the Friend-in-Need Society Hospital were drawn almost totally from the graduates of Dr.Green’s Medical School.Dr.Samuel Green was a surgical giant of his days and was the first Visiting Surgeon of the Friend-in-Need Society Hospital. The Friend-in-Need Society Hospital administered by the Friend-in-Need Society of Jaffna as a voluntary one in 1907 came under Civil Medical Department of the Government. The Civil Medical Department was the successor of the Military Medical Department of the Nineteenth Century. The hospital was renamed the Jaffna Civil Hospital.
However 3 qualified Surgeons worked at the Jaffna Civil Hospital from the mid 1920s to early 1930s. They were Dr.I.T.Kunaratnam, F.R.C.S, Dr.A.H.C.de Silva F.R.C.S and Dr.Milroy Paul F.R.C.S. The total bed strength of the hospital was 200 (including a 6 bed ward for private patients – the Thirunavukarasu Memorial Ward). The total medical staff consisted of 4 doctors in the capacity of Physician, Surgeon and Eye Surgeon and one houseman. Dr.Milroy Paul on his arrival got an experienced Theatre Sister appointed, got down a high pressure sterilizer from Colombo, trained a Theatre Attendant and did casualty operations even at night under Petromax and torch light. Dr.Paul records in 1931, post operative sepsis was uncommon in elective surgery which he felt was due to lack of overcrowding, the total lack of visitors except during prescribed hours, the strict observance of asepsis and mostly to the excellent nursing in both the Theatre and the Ward.
Rapid expansion and development commenced in the 1950s in the Government sector of the Health Services of Jaffna. With the appointment of specialists to the basic and sub-specialities, Jaffna Civil Hospital became a General Hospital. In the 1960s, Jaffna General Hospital was a recognized centre for postgraduate training of doctors for the Final Examinations of the Royal Colleges of England.
The Present Teaching Hospital Jaffna
The increased health needs and demands brought about in the Jaffna General Hospital extensions and constructions of new buildings without a comprehensive long-term plan resulting in a clumsy, overcrowded hospital. The batch of medical students moved into Jaffna Hospital for the clinical and para-clinical studies in June 1980. As a consequence of the establishment of Jaffna Medical School, Jaffna Hospital became elevated to the status of a Teaching Hospital.