Obituary Sitti Rizaliyana, dr., Sp.B.P.R.E. Subsp. M.O

Dr. Sitti Rizaliyana passed away peacefully at home, at the age of 50 years, surrounded by her loving family. People in the field of plastic surgery, especially in microsurgery, expressed their great loss in passing away of dr.Yana. It was however, a personal loss to each and every one of us. She was none less than a sister, a mother, a guide and a great teacher.

She was a pioneer of microsurgery in both Surabaya and Indonesia at large, developing the skills, systems, and tools which had allowed Indonesian plastic surgeons to embrace microvascular free tissue transfer as the ultimate option in the reconstructive arsenal. Yana’s work made microvascular reconstructive surgery a practical method in Surabaya, during the arduous days of the establishment of this teaching centre, up until today. Her work on repairing small blood vessels had helped the reconstruction of facial or body tissues after cancer surgery and the restoration of limbs after trauma.

Yana was born on the 21st of March 1972 in Banjarmasin, which marked the beginning of a messianic career of effort and dedication. She was the daughter of H. Ahmad Rizani, a renowned paediatrician in his time, from whom she inherited the knack for clinical expertise. She was second of three daughters, all of whom went on to outstanding careers in medicine.

Yana graduated from Airlangga University Faculty of Medicine in 1996 after which she moved to Bojonegoro and served as the head of the Public Health Centre there for 4 years. The skills and experience she received shaped her view and boldened her decision to pursue a career in plastic surgery in the following years.

After completing plastic surgery residency in Airlangga University in the year 2006, she was called back to serve as one of the teaching staff in the plastic surgery department. Her love for teaching was evident as she became one of the first surgeons to stay and teach after graduating. Her position here in one of the largest teaching hospitals in Indonesia also allowed her to help nourish the blooming microsurgery field.

Already having the clear vision of the great potential of microsurgery to reconstructive plastic surgery, she devoted the next stages of her career developing this field of surgery. Overseas training in microsurgery first took her to Singapore as one of the best center of microsurgery in Asia. She enrolled in Plastic reconstructive microsurgery course in Singapore General Hospital in 2007. Several years afterwards, she returned to Singapore to learn more about Perforators and Super-microsurgery, Flap dissection, and Hand Surgery. One notable training she received from Singapore is in the speciality of tissue banking, which made her the Quality Assurance Staff of the Tissue Bank of Dr.Soetomo Hospital in Surabaya.

Dr Yana’s demise had been most devastating for us, her students. She was the Head of Plastic Surgery Training Program, a huge commitment she enthusiastically undertook in the year 2016. Right until before she left, she still dedicated her life serving as a mentor to hundreds of residents and medical students. She paid special attention to patients and students who were disadvantaged in some way. Her greatest strength was her integrity, honesty, loyalty, and emphasis on patient care and she developed a reputation among students and colleagues as a tireless and selfless volunteer.

During the sixteen years as a plastic surgeon, the part of her life that was difficult to dismiss was her contribution towards our collegium. She acted as the secretary of The Indonesian Plastic Surgery Collegium for the years 2011-2022, translating her love for paperwork into concrete program growth and expansion of services. She also acted as an accreditation assessor of LAMPTkes and the curriculum commission of the collegium in the year 2021 and 2022, further bringing her vision towards plastic surgery education a step further.

Apart from all her contributions and legacy, she left a huge vacuum in our hearts as a sister, a mother, a guide and a great teacher. She was the person who we can talk to in times of despair and a person we can always rely on. She was the person who gives, not take. We will always remember her. We will remember her through the small details in the paperworks she loved doing or through the microscope she left us in her office – and most indispensably, through the arteries and veins of patients whose livelihood she had helped with all her heart.

Some personalities leave their footprints on time forever for others to follow.

Yana, born 21st of March 1972, passed away 5 December 2022

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