Situation surrounding allegations of ‘sterilization’ procedures performed by Dr. Seigu Shiyabdeen Mohammed Shafi of Kurunegala Teaching Hospital turned murkier as hospital authorities said over 51 complaints have been lodged so far , by patients who believe they were subjected to a sterilization procedure by the doctor in question, without consultation or consent, while Health Minister cast doubts over the allegations, noting as per his knowledge, a sterilization procedure cannot be performed without many other staffers witnessing the procedure.
Truth seemed far from the surface, as Health Minister Rajitha and the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) also locked horns over the issue.
Although Health Minister Rajitha Senarathne expressed confidence on truth coming to light through the investigation launched into the allegations by the Criminal Investigation Department and his Ministry, GMOA says they have no confidence in the MoH investigation as they believe political interferences will be made into the matter.
“The GMOA branch of the Kurunegala teaching hospital convened and unanimously decided that they can’t do not have any confidence in an investigation led by Health Ministry. Therefore we decided not to accept the results of the Ministry inquiry,” GMOA Secretary Dr. Naveen De Soysa said.
Meanwhile Minister Senarathne seemed visibly upset as the media grilled him over allegations levelled against Dr. Shiyabdeen as he retorted at media saying, “You all would not have these concerns if this doctor was a Sinhalese! Since the doctor is a Muslim you have an issue…” he told the journalists at the presser yesterday.
Meanwhile, TV news also featured comments by patients who had visited the Kurunegala Teaching hospital to lodge complaints against the Dr. Shiyabdeen. Interestingly, most patients said their baby was delivered by Dr. Shiyabdeen and since then, although they tried to conceive they have faced issues and that is why they now believe Dr. Shiyabdeen may have performed sterilization procedures on them without consent.
Although confirming these fears are up to medical professionals and experts, it also appears the media hype over the issue has now trickled into a potential situation of mass hysteria in the area.
Dr. Shiyabdeen was arrested last week, to be questioned over a complaint received regarding his wealth and assets earned via dubious means. However, it was around the same time that ultra nationalist daily, Divaina ran a lead story regarding a doctor who sterilizes Sinhalese mothers without their consent.