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Dr. Green, an American served the people of Northern Sri Lanka.
Dr. Samuel Fisk Green was born in Green Hills, Worcester, Massachusetts in 1822. To his father William E Green and mother Julia Plimpton, he was the 8th child of 11 children. After his schooling he was attracted to religion. In 1841 he went to New York and took employment Protestant Episcopal Board of Missions. During this period he got interested in medical profession and gave up his employment and joined as a student in medicine. He graduated in 1845. In 1846, he offered himself to serve in American Mission and joined a team of missionaries as a missionary physician to go to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
He reached Jaffna, the northern town of Ceylon in 1847. After a brief stay in a village called Thellipalai, he was transferred to another village named Manipay. He established the mission's first clinic there. At that time there were no western physicions in Jaffna area, and people preferred local medicine. However within a short period of time Dr. Green managed to attract many patients to him for treatment. In line with the policies of the mission to train natives for missionary work, Dr. Green decided to teach medicine to local students. The work done in the field of medical education may be the most valuable contribution of Dr. Green to Jaffna.
Initially, he instructed the students in English. However, he felt that for a native, to grasp the medical words in a new language would be difficult, and he took time to learn the local language Tamil. His next action was to find Tamil words for medical terms. Soon he prepared a dictionary of medical words. To help his students, he also translated several medical textbooks from English to Tamil. Even today we don't get many medical books written or translated in Tamil. When we consider this Dr. Green's effort is truly commendable.
During his stay in Jaffna, Cholera plagued the region several times and in many occasions it killed many thousands of people, including medical workers, within short period of time. Dr. Green was one of the first to volunteer to the nooks and corners of the area and treated patients. In 1855 he too took the disease and luckily got cured. He commanded high respect among native population and they regarded him as a demigod.
Dr. Green served in Jaffna for 20 years with a gap of 5 years. After his first 10-year period, he went back to America and spent five years there. He got married during this period and return back to Jaffna to serve another 10 years. After his second term he returned to America. He was interested in coming back to Jaffna, but unfortunately, the board of missions decided to cut expenditure on medical works, and Dr. Green was unable to return. After some time this policy was reversed, but it was too late. Dr. Green passed away on 28th of May 1884. He left his last will and he specifically mentioned there as follows:
"Should I ever have a gravestone, let it be plain and simple, and bear the following inscription: viz.,
SAMUEL FISK GREEN,
1822 - 188-
Medical Evangelist to the Tamils.
Jesus my all"
- Scientific Tamil Pioneer - Dr Samuel Fisk Green
Dr Green's like and deeds are worthy of preservation on the pages of history of the Tamil people. Hence, here is a concise account of his life and deeds and more specifically, his pioneer contribution for the development of western medical and scie
- Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Greenhill Park
Green Hills, Worcester, Massachusets is the ancestral home of Dr. Samuel Fisk Green.
- Archival Materials of the American Mission in Jaffna
Most of the documents comprise materials from the establishment of the American Ceylon Mission (ACM) in 1816 by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to the transfer of the ACM to the Church of South India (CSI) in 1947.
- Helping Restore the Green Memorial Hospital
Friends of Manipay Hospital (FMH)l was established in the UK in 2004 and accepted as a charitable organisation by the UK Charity Commission.
- The Green Memorial Hospital Manipay
The Green Memorial Hospital is a large complex that is capable of admitting nearly 400 inpatients. Unfortunately all the buildings have been damaged and are in a terrible state of disrepair.