Did Negligence Kill The Twins?
- Soldier laments death of his two sons at Gampaha Base Hospital
By Nirmala Kannangara
Doctors at the Gampaha Base Hospital are denying charges that medical negligence was the cause for the deaths of boy twins resulting in a young mother and father being deprived of their long-standing desire of having a son.
Chamara Priyantha Kumara, a solider attached to the Killinochchi Army Camp, was the unlucky father who lost the twin sons due to medical negligence at the Gampaha Base Hospital. Having a six-year-old daughter, Kumara and his wife Maya Maduwanthi had many plans for their unborn children. When the Consultant Gynecologist, whom they channeled at Arogya Private Hospital at Gampaha informed Maduwanthi that it was twin boys, the couple was overjoyed.
“I was away in Killinochchi when my wife broke the best news I have ever heard. I immediately came home on leave to celebrate the good news. We were longing to have a son for many years. When we heard that we were to get not one but two sons, the happiness I felt cannot be expressed in words. Similarly the grief I am now undergoing cannot be described. The dream that I had to send my two sons to Sri Lanka Army to safeguard the country was all shattered on July 5 and 6 respectively. However, I am happy as I could control my anger against this heartless medical team,” said Kumara.
According to Kumara the Visiting Obstetrician and Gynecologist (VOG) has initially warned them how risky the pregnancy was as it was a mono amniotic case – the fetuses were in one water bag which is not common as generally each fetus has to be in a separate sac.
“Since I was ready to spend any amount of money to save the lives of our unborn sons, I asked the VOG as to what we could do to prevent the risky condition. However the VOG said that he would take care of my wife and my babies and wanted me to bring my wife to the hospital regularly. As instructed I took her to him on given dates and on every visit she underwent scan tests to find out the growth of the fetuses,” added Kumara.
Meanwhile the Consultant VOG had told Kumara that unlike in normal cases, his wife had to undergo an elective cesarean operation when the fetuses were 36 weeks old.
“Since this is a risky condition, the VOG said that he could not wait for 40 weeks to take the babies but had to do an elective cesarean operation within 36 weeks. When I asked him whether we could go to a private hospital for the confinement, the VOG ensured more safety in government hospitals than in private hospitals and wanted me to admit my wife to his ward at the Gampaha Base Hospital,” said Kumara. Hence, Maduwanthi had been admitted to ward 12 on Wednesday July 4 morning.
“When I went to see Maduwanthi at noon, I was told that she was getting labour pains but the ward medical team was waiting for the VOG to decide what the next step would be. When I told them that my wife was in pain they (medical team) were not bothered at all. All they said was that they had to wait for the VOG to find out what had to be done. I asked whether they telephoned this VOG but they were mum. However since my wife was in the hospital I was not bothered as I knew that they would do the best for the patients and left home leaving my mobile phone with her,” he added. Since Maduwanthi was still in unbearable pain Kumara had taken his mother to be with his wife that same evening.
“By the time I went to the ward in the evening, I saw a yellow colour discharge all over her bed and even under her bed. She was in unbearable pain and I did not know what to do. I asked my wife whether the VOG came to see her. To my utter surprise the Consultant VOG, whom I channeled paying several thousand rupees over the past nine months seeking better attention, had not bothered even to come and see his patient. If he could do it to his private patients, I can imagine as to how he treats his patients who came to see him to the hospital clinic,” said Kumara.
According to Kumara it was around 11.45am the following day (Thursday July 5) that his wife had been taken to the labour room.
“My wife had first given a still birth and a little later given birth to the second baby. However immediately he too was sent to the immature child unit and later had been transferred to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for further care as his condition too was not good. Even the day before my wife was admitted, July 3, we were asked to get a scan report and the VOG said that both babies were fine and healthy. If my sons were fine on July 3 what happened to them after 48 hours? Neither the VOG nor the ward medical team gave me a proper answer. However, later I was told by the doctors at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital who were Gods on earth, that they could not save the life of my second son due to meconium aspiration (due to ingestion of excreta of the dead child). So I lost my second son on July 6,” lamented Kumara.
Accusing the VOG and the medical team at ward 12, Kumara was still puzzled as to why neither the VOG nor the medical team takes any responsibility to what happened to his twin sons.
“My wife, who was under local anesthesia, had overheard the doctors at the labour room saying that the lives could have been saved had the operation was done a few hours earlier. When I asked the ward doctors as to what happened I was asked to talk to the VOG. When I went to the VOG I was asked to talk to the ward doctors. What is this nonsense? Did we channel the VOG for this? I came to know that this particular VOG is only interested in making money but not taking care of the patients. I was told that he is a careless VOG in Gampaha where lots of parents have lost children at child birth due to his negligence,” added Kumara.
However, realizing that medical negligence was the cause of his twins’ death who were well formed and each baby weighed 2kg and 330grms which was a healthy growth, Kumara has lodged a complaint at the Gampaha police seeking justice.
Meanwhile, Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said that police investigations were underway.
Meanwhile Director, Gampaha Base Hospital Dr G. S. K. Dharmaratne denied allegations leveled against the hospital and said that the pregnancy was unusual where the two babies were in monoamniotic sac.
“It is a very serious case as when there are twins or more they should be in separate sacs. Although the father accused the hospital for not performing a caesarian operation immediately the wife was admitted, we cannot deliver immature babies. We have to wait for the right time for the operation. This particular VOG is rendering a great service. These things are normal,” said Dr. Dharmaratne.
Asked as to whether the hospital would take disciplinary action against the VOG concerned, the Director said that a departmental inquiry would be held if necessary once the postmortem report was given.
“The postmortem was conducted by the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer (JMO). Once we get the report from courts we have to decide on the future action,” added Dr. Dharmaratne.