Doctors allegedly attempted to cover up malpractice
- Doctors had accidentally slashed the baby’s cheek with a scalpel during an emergency C-section surgery
- The parents, who had opted for a normal delivery, had been suddenly informed that the baby needs to be delivered through an emergency C-Section
- When Mr. Ishara was finally allowed to visit his wife at the ward, he met a hostile staff
A baby born on September 21 at the Wathupitiwala Base Hospital in Gampaha has suffered a gash on her face, which her parents claim, is a result of medical negligence.
First time parents Mr. Ishara Udayanga and his wife were shocked to find a plaster covering a cut on their baby girl’s face, after doctors had accidentally slashed the baby’s cheek with a scalpel during an emergency C-section surgery.
Mr. Ishara and his wife had consulted a reputed Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Bandaranayake Private Hospital in Gampaha. Mr. Ishara says that their hope, like any new parent, was that their baby would be delivered safely. Therefore they sought the expert consultancy of this doctor and had complete faith in him.
The expectant mother was admitted to the Wathupitiwala Base Hospital for the delivery. However, the parents-to-be soon learned that all was not as it seemed at this hospital.
“After some routine scans and tests, we were informed that all was as expected. The baby was healthy and fine,” the father recalled. However the parents, who had opted for a normal delivery, had been suddenly informed that the baby needs to be delivered through an emergency C-Section. “The doctor in charge was not the doctor we had consulted. In fact this new doctor had been quite rude to my wife, who had been very scared at the time and had refused to undergo a C-Section. I was never consulted by the surgeon in making this decision,” he said.
“When she told the doctor that she cannot undergo surgery, the doctor had scolded her and told her to do as she pleases. My wife had not even been given an explanation as to why a surgery was needed at that time. She had simply been scared,” Mr. Ishara said.
The scared mother had then been approached by nurses and a midwife, who had explained to her the gravity of the situation. “Within a few minutes my wife had agreed to undergo surgery, after understanding why it was required,” Mr. Ishara said.
“It is during this time they said that the baby had turned, and was therefore responsible for the injury,” the father who had not been informed of any of these complications said. “My wife said that they had taken some time to show her the baby after the delivery, and she had naturally been worried. But she was not in a state to question anyone.”
When Mr. Ishara was finally allowed to visit his wife at the ward, he met a hostile staff at the ward, who had instructed him to ‘teach his wife’. “They told me that my wife had created a scene and that she needs to be taught. I couldn’t understand what they meant or what was going on, so I just smiled,” he recollected.
It was when the new father first saw his newborn daughter, that he saw a big plaster across the baby’s cheek. “I was worried, I asked them what this plaster was doing on my child’s face. I asked my wife too. But she didn’t know enough. The staff acted as if it was a small injury, and nothing to be concerned about.”
In the days that followed Mr. Ishara said that the doctors at the hospital attempted to conceal the injury to the newborn’s face and only revealed the reason after questioning. “My wife wasn’t in a state to comprehend what had happened. We thought it was a slight bruise. They said that due to the delay in taking a decision over surgery, the baby had turned inside the womb. They said that an initial scan had revealed the baby to be surrounded by sufficient fluids in the water bag, but during the surgery, there had been no water, resulting in a cut to my baby’s face,” he said.
Mr. Ishara added that the Obstetrician and Gynaecologist whom the parents had consulted prior to the delivery had not been present during the surgery. “The doctor asked me to visit him at the Bandaranayake Private Hospital after the incident, where he asked me to withdraw the complaint which I made,” he said. The hospital staff had also failed to give the records of the baby’s delivery details, Mr. Ishara claimed.
The Medical Superintendent of the Wathupitiwala Hospital speaking to the Daily Mirror confirmed that a complaint had been recorded with the hospital, adding that an internal investigation was underway. The matter has also been brought to the attention of the Provincial Director of Health Services, he said.