LAST WEEK Prof Vijay Naraynsingh stood before his peers at Moscone Centre in San Francisco to receive an honorary fellowship by the American College of Surgeons. He is the first Trinidadian to have been conferred with the fellowship in the 105-year history of the ACS and only the second West Indian surgeon to have received the honour.
Naraynsingh is well known for his work as a specialist surgeon in his homeland, and his work in advancing operating procedures and surgical techniques has won him high regard among his peers. His work, which includes pioneering design on 12 new operations, was backed by the co-authorship of five book chapters on vascular, thyroid and leg ulcer surgery and more than 250 indexed and peer-reviewed articles in journals in the field internationally.
He retired from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, in September 2015 as Professor of Surgery at the end of a 30-year career. He had also served as head of the Department of Clinical and Surgical Sciences and was considered one of the university’s outstanding researchers, lecturers and surgeons.
Any review of Naraynsingh’s life should note the murder of his second wife, Chandra Naraynsingh, shot by Shawn Parris on the afternoon of June 29, 1994, after leaving her office. Parris and his accomplice Junior Morris faced the trial as witnesses for the State and alleged that Prof Naraynsingh, his third wife Seeromanie Maraj-Naraynsingh and car parts dealer Elton Ramasir were complicit in the crime.
Prof Naraynsingh was cleared after four months in 2004 and his wife and Ramasir were released ten months later after presiding judge Herbert Volney accepted the jury’s decision to close the case.
To his credit, Naraynsingh resumed his career trajectory undeterred, continuing his work in his medical specialty as well as his research and contributions to the scientific community.
Naraynsingh’s was an early voice in raising concerns about prostate cancer in TT, explaining in June 2013 that at the root of a disturbing level of deaths relative to diagnosis was the need for more attention to screening men at regular intervals.
His most recent participation in medical studies, according to ResearchGate, a type of LinkedIn for scientific professionals, is a co-authorship credit on a paper titled Rat Bites in the Diabetic Foot: Clinical Clues, published in October.
Recognised for his service to medicine locally with a Chaconia Medal (Gold) in 1991, Naraynsingh has had a long career in various branches of medical service.