Within a period of 10 days in the month of October, 2018 three neonatal deaths and one maternal deaths were reported from the Chilaw District General Hospital, raising concern as to whether something was seriously wrong in the medical set-up.
Rasika Jeewani, a 34-year-old mother and her baby died on October 28. According to reports, her husband Aruna Priyanga says that she was in good health when she was admitted to the hospital. They had requested for a caesarean operation to deliver the baby, but the doctors had opted for normal delivery. Both mother and the baby had died later. Priyanga complains that the doctors had not considered their request and demands the authorities to do a handwriting test to determine whether the handwriting in the admission card was his wife’s. He says that his wife had requested a caesarean operation.
Following the death of the mother and child, another neonatal death occurred. The baby of Tania Kalhari (21) died on November 04. The hospital authorities had claimed that the mother had diabetes and the condition led to the death of the baby. The next day, November 05, another baby died at the same hospital during delivery. This was the baby of Periyandi Wathani, a 30-year-old mother from Udappuwa in Arachchikattuwa. She had been admitted to the hospital on October 24 for the birth of her second child. Wathani’s baby was buried the next day, on November 06, without autopsy being performed.
Following the three deaths and accusations made by the patients, the Acting Director of the hospital Dr. L. Poddalgoda told the media that he had admitted that the deaths were unusual. He had said that an investigation was underway to determine whether these deaths were caused by any germ or due to negligence of the staff.
Investigation produces nothing
The Daily Mirror spoke to the Acting Director, who said that they had conducted an investigation, but nothing was found. He said that one baby was immature and already dead at the time of delivery, while one of the others had died; due to what they believed was a congenital bleeding disorder. They had done two diagnoses to find the cause of death.
Asked why the doctors had done a normal delivery when Jeewani, the mother, had signed for a c-section operation, the director said that usually most mothers requested for a caesarean while they were awaiting delivery. He said it was not the patient, but the consultant who had to decide whether to do a normal delivery or a C-section. He also said the blood pressure of the mother was under control.
Priyanga, the husband of Jeewani, spoke about the death.
“She was admitted on October 24 to the Chilaw Hospital. She was there for three days and was taken to the theatre on October 27, about 2.30 p.m. My wife signed for a Caesarean operation, but the doctors had opted for normal delivery. This led to her death. I think she would have been alive if they did a Caesarean operation because she had high blood pressure,” he lamented.
According to him, the doctors had said that they were doing only a limited number of Cesarean operations.
“Mothers who opt for normal delivery are often left alone and people say that some of the labour room nurses are not friendly. I heard that more babies had died in the hospital after the death of my wife and the baby. The authorities should take action immediately. Maybe she was just another patient for them, but she was my wife. It is not worth to risk my wife’s life for anyone’s carelessness,” said a sobbing husband.
“We are operating a school service van, and the children in the van are inquiring about her. They still cry and ask me to make a complaint with the police. Anyway, no one can bring her back to life. I have lost her, but I don’t want it to happen to any other mother or child” he said between sobs.
According to media reports such tragedies have taken place even earlier at the Chilaw Hospital.
M. Sajeewa Shriyanthi Silva (34) in Rambepitiya, had died after delivering twins in a C- section surgery at the Chilaw Hospital. She had died during a complex operation in October 2014, according to news appearing in a website under the headline, “Woman dies after Caesarean Operation in Chilaw”. The husband of the deceased had said that the hospital had not been able to provide the assistance of a VOG, which he cited as the reason for the death of his wife.
On September 09, 2016 a news item accompanied by a video reported the death of 51-year-old Jude Francis in Julianwatta, Chilaw. The report said that Francis was allegedly pushed out of the hospital by the security officers because they thought he was drunk. He had then fallen and hit his head when he was pushed out. The autotsy was done at the Negombo District General Hospital and the cause of death was found to be internal bleeding, in the head.
A series of deaths during delivery gives a clear indication that something is seriously wrong and immediate action is needed to stop whatever is causing these deaths.