By Thisari Walawege
Commenting on the recent severe criticism by Prof A.H. Sheriffdeen on the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) staff over their failure to promptly treat a 10-year-old boy with a ruptured appendix, the Paediatric Surgeons collective at LRH said the events that had taken place were misrepresented by the professor.
Recently, in a letter addressed to the President of the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka renowned retired Professor of Surgery A. H. Sheriffdeen requested an investigation into the incident of LRH’s failure to promptly treat the boy due to the non-availability of a senior surgeon at the hospital.
“I got a call from the boy’s father to say that the junior doctors had told the family that the appendix had ruptured, that the boy needed major surgery by a Consultant and there was no Consultant available. No solution was offered,” he said in the letter.
In response, the Paediatric Surgeons collective at LRH addressed the President of the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka to clarify the situation.
The letter said in the case of this child, a routine clinical decision had been made to do the appendicectomy after fluid resuscitation and antibiotics as the child had been brought to hospital after three days of symptoms.
It said the Senior Resident (SR) of the unit having examined the child, had spent a significant period of time explaining the science behind the decision to the mother and an uncle on two separate occasions.
“It had nothing to do with a ‘non-availability’ of a consultant surgeon and we are at a loss to understand how such an idea had insinuated in to the parents’ perception as the cause for planned delay,” it said.
Accordingly, it was planned to operate on the child as the first case next morning and a successful laparoscopic appendicectomy had been carried out as promised. The child was discharged without complications after five days and was found to be fully recovered one week after discharge.
“However, it appears that long distance communications had somehow distorted the account of what had taken place. Prof Sheriffdeen unfortunately had to base his opinion and the letter on what reached his ears. The father who is supposed to have complained to him, we find, is abroad,” the Paediatric Surgeons collective at LRH said.
The statement has been signed by Dr. B.A.D. Jayawardana, Dr. A. Lamahewage, Dr. C. Suriarachchi, Dr. S. Abeygunasekera, Dr. M. Samarasinghe, Dr. P.D.R. Sisil Kumara and Dr. N. Wijekoon.
*** Prof Sheriffdeen unfortunately had to base his opinion and the letter on what reached his ears. The father who is supposed to have complained to him, we find, is abroad