The Great Noble Patrician- Dr AEA Joseph

By Dr Mariasoosai Pathmarajah

For Funeral Details, please use the following link: Anton Joseph (

He is elegant, handsome, an academic, a philanthropist, a devout Christian and most of all a great noble patrician.

My dear friends and colleagues, I have great pleasure in writing about Dr AEA Joseph whom I know for a long time and admired him for his qualities, which he acquired from his parents, teachers and past rectors for whom he had a great respect.

His education was at St Patrick’s College where the fundamental qualities were inculcated in him by the dedicated members of staff.  He was under the guidance of two great rectors, Rev. Fr Long and Rev. Fr. Arulnesan. Among the teachers he fondly recalled Sam Master and Gnanam Master.  He firmly believed that his days at St Patrick’s College prepared him for life and his future in the field of medicine. The dedication of his teachers has inspired him to promote education among his trainees and his passion for the highest standards of education at St Patrick’s College.

I would love to share some of the salient facts I know about him that I gathered during my friendship well over the last 20 years.

I would touch mainly on his enormous contributions to science, medicine and technology apart from his academic achievements and generosity.

He graduated from Colombo Medical College in 1962 with flying colours. His passion for teaching started soon after his graduation. He joined as a lecturer in Forensic Medicine, Biochemistry and in nuclear medicine in Sri Lanka. He also has made his first publication about assessing factors controlling post-mortem cooling in American journal of forensic sciences. It predates the rest of the articles on this subject. This has also been referenced to other such publications.

Dr Joseph’s teaching interests continued even in England. He contributed chapters to radiology textbooks, lectured physics to postgraduates in radiology and has been an examiner for FRCR part I and part II.

Dr Joseph obtained his Masters in Radiation Biology in London, later became a fellow of the Royal college of Radiology in 1976. He had his training in St George’s Hospital and The Royal Marsden Hospital and was appointed as a consultant in clinical Radiology in St George’s Hospital at a time when people from ethnic minority faced discrimination to progress in clinical specialities.

As a patrician I am extremely proud this achievement!

At the time of his appointment as a radiologist with special interest in ultrasound and in charge of the Ultrasound Department,  ultrasound was in its infancy and he was probably one of the handful of consultants in the country practising in the field of ultrasound.

As a patrician I am proud to acknowledge Dr Joseph as a trailblazer in the field of ultrasound.

Ultrasound is now one of the frequently used investigations and is a very much operator dependant examination. As many of us would be aware that ultrasound is perhaps the only harmless and painless investigation. Dr Joseph had applied the clinical experience and his knowledge of physics to carrying out and to interpreting his findings. He became an expert in hepato-biliary and pancreatic disease. (i.e. liver, gallbladder and pancreatic disease). He paved the way to hot cholecystectomy (emergency gallbladder surgery) by diagnosing very accurately the acute inflammation of the gall bladder. Now this is a well-accepted norm in the surgical world, and it has become the gold standard of managing acute inflammation of the gall bladder.

He expanded his ultrasound skills to other areas, such as diagnosing colonic tumours, early bladder tumours, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or colitis), chronic liver disease (bright liver), granulomatous liver disease, pulmonary infarcts, vascular and lymphatic disease. These can only be demonstrated only by a handful of finely tuned radiologists at that time.

His ultrasound skills expanded to interventions when these procedures were at its early development.  He has performed many interventions under ultrasound guidance and thereby avoiding many open surgical procedures.  These skills have been taken up by the rest of the radiological fraternity, and now has become a very useful armamentarium to all the surgeons. One such pioneered case was an ultrasound guided needle aspiration of intra atrial tumour (one of the heart chambers) – the first ever reported case. This is one of his many original contributions to the medical world.

Dr Joseph also had a keen interest in research and development. He invented an instrument that has enhanced visibility with ultrasound and thereby helps to target lesions accurately, for obtaining samples for microscopic examination. This has been described as a holy grail of interventional ultrasound.

He was awarded innovator award for his pioneering work.

His urge for going beyond barriers did not stop there, and it turned towards cancer. Dr Joseph described the cytotoxic effects of Gossypol and conducted preliminary study of gossypol in advanced human cancer (published in chemotherapy and pharmacology 1992).

Dr Joseph was still involved in research even after his retirement, assessing the role of hepatic sinusoids in obesity.

For all his contributions to the medical world, Dr Joseph was awarded with an A distinction award.

He had served in many committees such as Member of the Academic board, St George’s Hospital; Member of the panel of chairman for medical students; Regional advisory committee on distinction awards; Ethnicity and diversity Committee; Member of SEREC.

He has been the Consultant to industries as well, such as Nycomed Amersham and Technicare (ultrasound manufacturer).

He continued to teach and imparted his excellent technical skills in ultrasound to his colleagues and new consultants. He stepped down from the department as the head of radiology to pave the way to the new consultants, even though he was still teaching, training, educating and mentoring his peers.

His passion for catholic religion and spiritual hunger lead him to earn a master’s degree in theology after his retirement and became the eldest master’s student at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

Dr Joseph always recalled and greatly acknowledged the teaching and guidance he received at St Patrick’s College, that had helped him to achieve all the above glorious milestones which are remarkable and highly commendable.

He provided free health checks to all the clergy and worked very closely with bishop Emilianuspillai while working in Jaffna.

It is also important to note that Dr Joseph is not only an academic, but also a very good sportsman. He was the opening batsman and the goalkeeper, for the first eleven.  He continued to support the cricket and the football teams at the college, whilst working as a doctor in Jaffna.

He also took up tennis in the UK and became very good at it without having any form of coaching.

Everyone who had any association with Dr Joseph knows about his musical ability especially signing Latin hymns and psalms. He was the lead chorister in our association.  He was also in the church choir (St Elphege’s Catholic Church) where he sang many Latin solos.

His passion for his school continued to grow more and more.  He saw the need for Alumni in the UK.  He was instrumental in creating the St Patrick’s Alumni, UK and was the first president of this noble association.  Our organisation has since, grown so well, reaching the unreachable. Interestingly, he was also the first president of the holy family convent past pupil’s association UK, holding office for 5 years.

Dr Joseph was instrumental in forming an advisory board to help running the school.

St Patrick’s college and the catholic education was in his heart and mind every time. That had been his utmost priority.

His continued vision to take our school and the catholic education to even greater heights is highly admirable.


I used to admire him in the SPC AA UK committee meetings. He had been my advisor and to many other presidents of our Alumni. He was always the last to speak after listening to various viewpoints and would come up with answers that had a practical and amicable approach to the problem.


Such was his wisdom!

Dr Joseph was very generous and contributed enormously to the schools, churches, local community to support education and to many more charities, in Sri Lanka and in the UK. He had always remained anonymous and very humble about his contributions.

Finally, A man with an exemplary medical career with 74 publications, scores of letters & case reports, author of chapters to radiology books, editor in chief for textbooks, an inventor, a scientist, supporter of humanity with the welfare of our college in his mind all the time, is the Noblest Great Patrician!

He believes that he had been inspired by the poem he learnt in school:

Lives of great men all remind us,

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leaves behind us,

Footprints on the sands of time.


HW Longfellow


Perhaps we could all be inspired by the life of many great men who have left behind an example to emulate.


May his soul enjoy eternal rest!


Mariasoosai Pathmarajah