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A tribute to...

Shree Vishna Rasiah

Published: Sat 13th Jun 2020

"We are immensely proud of the extraordinary impact that he had on so many lives."

- Friends and family

FROM Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Adelaide's Flinders University, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom, members of Shree Vishna Rasiah's "families" are celebrating the life of a family member taken too soon.

Vishna, known to all as Vish, contracted COVID-19 in March this year. The virus took a terrible toll, putting him in the ICU in Worcestershire Royal Hospital for weeks before it sadly became too much. He passed away peacefully with his wife Liza by his side on April 23.

Vish's early years were spent growing up in Malaysia, dreaming of a bigger life. It was a dream that brought him to Flinders University in 1990 with a group of students from South-East Asia, determined to study hard and do his family proud in the pursuit of a medical career.

He finished his medical degree in 1995 and headed to the United Kingdom for an internship along with several members of his new "Flinders family".

For Vish, paediatrics was his focus. He trained at Sheffield where he chose neonatology as a speciality and was focused on taking care of the tiniest patients. He returned to Australia for 12 months to further his experience at the Neonatal Unit, Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, before returning to Sheffield to continue his training.

It was during his registrar training in Sheffield that he met senior house officer Dr Liza Harry, who later became his wife in 2005. After his neonatology training was complete, he applied for a role at the Neonatal Unit at Birmingham Women's Hospital and became part of the "neonatal family".

Vishna with his wife Liza and his daughter Katelyn.
Vishna with his wife Liza and his daughter Katelyn.

He continued working in the field, rising to become the clinical lead for the regional Southern West Midlands Maternity and Newborn Network. His passion for caring for the premature babies and their families extended beyond his day job and into active involvement as the medical lead for the charity Libby Mae's Angels, which raised money for equipment for neonatal units across the Midlands.

Vish's other talents were many. A keen gardener he took great pride in building a fun, flower filled, space for Katelyn to play in at home. A lover of Asian food he knew where all the best Chinese, Malaysian and Indian restaurants were in his patch and loved nothing better than to take visitors there. Cake Thursday was a highlight at work, and Vish's passion for photography candidly captured moments to be remembered forever.

When asked how Vish should be remembered, his wife Liza's words reflect the man he was:

"Despite his wonderful accomplishments and the respect and adoration that he got from medical and nursing colleagues, other co-workers and trainees, he remained a very quiet and unassuming person who never boasted or talked about himself," Liza said.

"His humility was one of his most beautiful qualities. Even those closest to him, myself included, did not know the full extent of the regard his co-workers and trainees had for him."

Vishna with his extended family.
Vishna with his extended family.

In a tragic twist, Vish appeared on BBC1's Life and Birth series in the weeks after he had passed away. The series had been shot in August and September 2019. His compassion and caring was captured forever on film with the BBC captioning the show as a tribute to a National Health Service hero.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19 times, Vish's colleagues at Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital were able to pay tribute at the end, with news footage showing friends lining the edges of the hospital's driveway with heads bowed as his hearse took him on his final journey.

Vish is deeply mourned by his loving wife and daughter Katelyn, his immediate family in Malaysia, Trinidad and Australia and by his vast extended family in the UK, Malaysia, Australia, Europe and North America.

His friends wrote: "We are immensely proud of the extraordinary impact that he had on so many lives".

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