25 May, 2024


Pictures: Patient Vomiting Blood, Hospital Staff Watching Soap Opera – Accident Ward Colombo

General Hospital of Colombo accused of neglecting patients . “Here we had a patient who was vomiting out blood and as far as the attendants, nurses and doctors were concerned, the soap opera on TV was far more important to attend to at this hour.” an eyewitness says. We give below a first-hand experience of a Sri Lankan citizen;

Last night (28.05.2013), a young trainee nurse from Nawalapitiya was tossed out of a moving bus unto the bustling street in Kirulapone and fell right in front of my moving car. While a Police Officer from the Wellawatte Station was questioning the bus driver, a friend and I rushed her to the General Hospital of Colombo – the biggest government hospital in this entire country. Upon reaching the emergency entrance of the hospital, we were ordered by the nurse at the entrance to wheel out a stretcher and to place the patient on this stretcher. It was not a busy night. Having so done, we were then ordered to push her into to the accident ward which, after disturbing many, we actually found. Here we had a patient who was vomiting out blood and as far as the attendants, nurses and doctors were concerned, the soap opera on TV was far more important to attend to at this hour. I attach a picture as evidence of this. After painfully having managed to get her an x-ray, we had to run around the ward to convince the doctor that this patient was actually worth having a look at. Finally, after about 2 hours of mayhem, she was admitted to the ward and were praying that she has no major injuries.

The anger and disgust that I felt at this period of time affected me to the very core of my being. I was appalled at the treatment which ordinary citizens face in times of greatest need and ashamed that I was too “privileged” never to have experienced this before. This is the sad reality of this “Island in Paradise”. I am ashamed today to live in a country with such blatant disregard for human life. The compassion and loving kindness so inherent to our culture is now merely folklore.

There are great many young people who are willing to take a stand for reforms in a manner that is the least counter productive for the growth of this country – please help us to do so by sharing this message with people who can make a change, however small.

Thank you


Selyna. D. Peiris

LLB (Hull) LLM (London) MAIS (Vienna)


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Latest comments

  • 1

    There was once a so called dictator in Sri Lanka under whose leadership the corrupt public service was made to shiver. Many didn’t like him but he did something for the public to gain confidence in the public service. SL will never get another leader like him.

  • 1

    Dear Dr Fernando,

    Thank you for your comments however I wish to clarify some of the information you have made in response to media publicity following the incident of 28th May 2013.

    You say that “She [the patient] was attended to by the medical staff in accordance with hospital procedures and the medical records show that she was admitted to Ward 73 at 8:25 p.m, within this 37 minutes-(Thirty seven minutes & NOT TWO HOURS).”

    I beg to differ from your statement as this is not the truth and was most certainly not the case. I am a lawyer and will not make such statement without verifying facts knowing the repercussions it would have. If your records show this, I can hardly change that reality and all the public has to count on is the word of 4 young girls who were victim and witness to this incident respectively. However, I wish to contest this point publicly. After all as the Buddha said, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth”.
    You have said “When photography is prohibited within the Hospital premises, how come the writer take a photograph violating basic laws. Furthermore soap operas are not watched in this manner.”

    With all due respect, i think this is a very weak argument to counter what happened that day. Photography – my friend nor I saw any signing which states this prohibition. It is our duty as citizens to report when we see public resources used in such haphazard manners and that is exactly what we did.

    I do not wish to continue this debate on numbers as I do not believe the blame game has gotten this country very far – it will be the same in this situation as well. The real issue here is that Sri Lanka’s public sector is overburdened and not providing the service it can and should to the people and this is something that needs to change. I have received so many messages from so many people relating to what happened and stating that they has also gone through similar experiences from as early as 1969. Let us not divert focus from this reality.

    The intention of my email was not to be accusatory but to be proactive when seeing something wrong happen in our country. I certainly did not expect such publicity but I’m glad it did. As citizens we must strive to develop a country in which we want to live in. Its about time things changed and people start taking responsibility for our actions and our non-actions. Blaming the Government for everything is not the answer or solution to any of our problems. It is our duty as citizens to bring to our leaders and through them to the administration that runs this country that problems exists. Only then can everyone concerned put that step forward to balance national interest with political interest and achieve the change this country needs for its people.

  • 1

    Pls note that patients are triaged on admission and sent to the Rescuscition room or OPD section according to the severity of the injury. From the description of the injuries this patient did not have any life threatening injuries. It is documented in the BHT that the pt was managed within 37 minutes, therefore we have to consider the 2 hour story as a figment of the writers imagination, since there is written proof.
    The learned lady lawyer, cant see all the corruption all around and is afraid to spk out against it fearing white vans I suppose. Put ure house in order first madam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, rather than trying to be a hero.
    Furthermore one should appreciater the amount of work done in Government Hospitals in terms of monetary value and GNP, rather than giving prominence to one writer who seems to have a bone to pick with the healthcare staff.

  • 2

    quote posted on the Facebook timeline of Selyna Peiris on the 30th April
    “”””Update: The girl is doing better now but has been advised to have a head scan. Due to the increase in “attention”, she has been upgraded to a better ward and given good treatment!
    Alls well that ends well in this case but much more to be done. Lesson to be learnt: Stop blaming – take proactive action!””

    Pls note:::
    She was not upgraded to a better ward, she was just transferred to the relevant ward after 24hours as it is the practice in the Accident Service. Fortunately the neurosurgical wards are brand spanking new wards opened less than 2 years ago.
    There was no increased attention, she was treated as any other patient would be treated.
    Talk about Monkey praising its own tail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Know ure facts b4 blabbering!!!!!!!!!!

  • 1

    The funny part is the patient was very happy, with the treatment, and had no complaints whatsover, whilst the third party outsider, seems to be having a mega itch to scratch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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