28 September, 2021

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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

Yours,

Selyna. D. Peiris

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

 

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    These are the real problems faced by ordinary citizens of this country . unfortunately the majority of Sri Lankans are subhuman creatures and have no concern of these issues at all .

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      Awful!

      This is the reallity at almost all public institutions.

      Hospitals deal with human lives. These people are not suitable for such a noble job.

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      Damn right.

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        Just like the politicians enjoying themselves and not caring a damn while the country is going to the dogs.

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          They are just like politicians because they have these jobs because of the politicians. I know of situations in some hospitals where the directory is unable to assign work to even the minor staff. They have been given the jobs by the local politicians, so, they think that they are entitle to a salary-sans-work as long as “their” politician is in power.

          Recently, I also suffered the loss of a loved-one at a General Hospital because it was too inconvenient for the doctor on call to drain the lungs of the patient at a late hour. The patient didn’t survive till morning. I have been “convinced” that the death was an eventuality but I’m guess I’m not ignorant enough to accept that wholeheartedly.

          It is amazing how people argue that things are just fine as it is until an injustice happens to them. And suddenly they are blistering mad about everything and want sweeping change instantly. If Sri Lanka is not the the ultimate outcome of a selfish people I don’t know what is. Recently I saw an author wondering if “Buddha has failed” in Sri Lanka. Well, duh?

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    i also went through the same experience once & i complained it to the Director of the accident ward on the next day morning. he was asking from me weather i know the doctor’s name. we should be asamed to live in this country. General hospital colombo from up to bottom should be reproceeed. no more Nightingales.

    we should not alove this to happen again , because the poor people always get caught to this issue , whom paying tax to each unit they buy for these doctors & Nurses to get bigger salaries.

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    HUMAN LIFE DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING ANYMORE IN SRI LANKA….. RIGHT FROM THE HIGHEST LEVELS IT IS MURDER AND DESTRUCTION….. SO ONE CANNOT EXPECT ANYTHING FROM THE LOEWER RANKS……. HOW SAD …. OUR MOTHERLAND HAS GONE TO THE DOGS …….PATHETIC …. THAT OUR ISLAND PARADISE …. IS IN SHAMBLES……. ALL THIS DUE TO AN ILLEGITIMATE REGIME…..

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    The only way this country can go back to civility and quality life is to go under colonial rule of British or may be US once more! Sinhalese Buddhist buffalos are never capable of living as true and free human beings which history has proved again and again. In a country where bastards like Mervyn Silva is going to be given judicial and punitive power on state employees and no despicable bastard in the country voicing a whimper about it, it is ample signs and evidence that this country must now be invaded by some other country, may be even India and everyone who has the slightest of brain power and rational thinking capacity must support such an endeavor! Or in the alternative UN may establish an interim government here until this country returns to civilized world.

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    Good picture, caught red handed. This is the normal attitude of the state sector employees. Having obtained jobs through political intervention they too are above the common people like their masters. Same attitude is now spreading to the private sector. Staff chatting with friends while customers stand waiting.

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      Only problem is that there’s no picture of patient vomiting blood in the background. This photo could have been taken at any time, and we know all the doctors, nurses and attendants in the Accident ward are not from the National hospital. There are staff who accompany transferred patients, and while their patients being attended by National Hospital staff, these people do enjoy a bit of television. There is a campaign against health service in SL, by elements who want to privatize it. Beware of these stories, because this picture proves nothing and any hack and write up a story.

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    What a disgrace ! There’s no business for them to have TVs in such emergency wards !!

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    Don,t worry they are so religious and trying to send the patients to heaven or to nirvana.

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    Where is the patient? There is no patient vomitting blood in this picture…. you want to create a story?….. what a shame!

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      I am sure the photographer had all the opportunities to do a photo shoot, positioning the patient in the background and then having all the so called, ‘doctors’ and ‘nurses’ in the proper positioning…
      Have you actually been to a Public Hospital?
      Do you honestly think this is ‘Not’ happening?
      I have worked in the medical sector for years and I have seen enough to rather die than going to a public hospital.

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      dailymirror.lk/news/30166-sick-child-dies-while-doctor-watches-tv.html

      i suggest you read that before defending our “it’s better than India’s, so dont talk about negatives!” healthcare system.

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    Thank you for your efforts in connecting this story to the media and your support.

    As an update: the girl is still in hospital, still vomiting blood and her eyes are swollen. The bus driver has been remanded since last night. This is getting media publicity and the Health Minister too has been informed and has apparently promised a probe.

    I hope the real issue comes across amongst the emotion. This is only one in the millions of stories that come come about every single day. Inefficiency in Sri Lanka’s massive public sector is not a surprise to any of us but the issue here is what are we going to do about it. Where do we draw the line between national interest, political interest and most importantly the sanctity of the human life?

    Thanks again and will keep you updated.

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      Thanks Ms. Peiris for your humanitarian approach towards the injured person. The only consolation you may have is that Minister Sirisena is aware of the incident. Out of the Ministers of Health we had during recent years he is the only minister who can be accessed to even complain and receive a hearing. Hope for the best, Madam.

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    Yes may be a true story…but writers quolifications tell us he is ante local as opposed to foreigners…why blame themm…we all are responsible for the mess this country is inn..you are getting the services you deserve

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    I hope and pray that the young girl pulls through safe from this ordeal

    here we have 2 issues

    i) the rascal of a bus driver /conductor who took off before she got off (this is a common occurance in this so called ‘civillised’ country)

    what will the LPBOA do ? over to that chap Gemunu

    ii) the doctors and nurses have negleted their duty to the core,if it had happened in a civilised country then they would have faced serious punishment but not so in Lanka,even if the health minister takes action it will be settled by higher ups as Maithreepala is no longer a favorite of the Govt

    I see that the Meteorological depts head apoligising to the so called Buddsht monks for naming a storm as ‘Mahesan’after a king of Sri Lanka (apparently it was an insult to th king and mad monks threw a fit)

    my question is

    i)will BBS/JHU take this issue up or wont be bothered? is this how a so called Buddhist Countrys health sector performs?

    ii)will Malinda Seneviratne write and expose similar incidents or will he still onl be interested in writing pro govt stuff to earn his ‘buth packet’ (lunch packet)

    iii) Will Leela (K A Sumanasekera ) say that the nurse fell on her own to discredit the Gov on the instruction of TNA hahahaahahaha?

    iv)people who protest against cattle slaughter ,why quiet when humans suffer in this way?

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      Leela and his ilk will say Ms S.Peris is an NGO affiliated /Christian Missionary person and trying to tarnish the image of SL government medical sector . Further, in order to justify Leela’s claims , she will point out how many doctors /nurses/Attendants and other staff sacrificed their time during the war. Expect to see Leela and her ilk pointing fingers at the usual suspect ,that is “ this is all LTTE/Tamil diasporas and white man’s conspiracy theories to destabilize the democratically elected government”.

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    Please do not forget there was a ENT surgeon who travelled from Badulla and met with an accident in Colombo, bled to death at the accident service with delays to attend To his internal bleeding. this happened 5-7 yrs ago.

    accident services and the OPD are par below standards. these services are for people and not for personal gains.

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    Please show me the doctor in this picture…

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      All those who watch the screen seem to be attendants and laborers. There is one nurse in uniform. Can’t identify a doctor. Reasonably well patients also watch TV. Difficult to identify a doctor.

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    Looks like they are listening to a sermon by Swarnawahini…

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    Pathetic situation. TV should be removed from hospitals. people talk about animal rights do not talk about human rights. in our country there are rules mentioning only 12 animals can be carried in a lorry with open air. but in the buses more than 100 people packed every morning and evening. no body bother about that. Animals are more respected in this country than the Human beings.Thanks to literate society of sri lanka

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      Wow…. you are absolutely right. There is no limit for the number of passengers you can pack in a bus. And we are in the 21st century.

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      Cannot agree more.. I often smile when I see people who hardly bother about about humans talking so passionately about animals and animal rights.

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        Hope it is not a Mona Lisa type of smile.

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    I had a similar incident (less injury) some years back. I stopped a moving bus and the bus driver sumitted to my request. Though my confidence was high in jumping in on a moving vehicle, I could not grip the window frame properly and fell to on my back on the floor. I was very young and strong to take the force of the fall. I has only a few scratches and got into the same bus to my destination.

    I’ve been to accident ward a couple of time after motor accidents and saw how people are treated, and on one occasion I even commented to a bystander, why are these injured treated worse than stray dogs?

    The reform needs to take place at the very top – policy makers/enforcers. Until then we can see no real change.

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    that is one of pathetic situation of our paradise of asia. we will meet so many things in near future.

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    And some people smile at people who complain constantly and take no action. At least animal rights people take action and do something for da voiceless grateful animals that are tortured by the very people who constantly complain that man is treated unfair. Karma. Every human is different to another. There are more humans to help humans and very less to help animals. Humans are ungrateful for any help they are given. They will still be unhappy if u give them help. At least an animal will be grateful for even a bowl of water. That’s the difference. That’s why some people would rather help an animal that cannot ask and that is grateful than help a human that will throw the money or lunch packet or whatever back in your face. It is the cruel side of human nature. Humans are the ones destroying the earth for every being thing. Its not only in Sri Lanka and its nit only Buddhists who do these cruelty to humans as some comments stated. It happens allover the world. Don’t bring religion. If one is unhappy then take action without complaining and expect animal rights ppl to sort your problem. They are sorting a problem that you don’t care off but they care off. You sort tgd problem you care off and then we have these issues minimizing. Take action without scolding religion class creed animal rights activities etc. If we all took action in different ways then problems will minimize.

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    These are the real problems that need fixing NOT political solutions to just a few people.

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    Selyna, thank you for your attempts to open the eyes of the public. I am a state sector doctor, and this reflects a sad truth, not only seen in hospitals, but in all government institutions. A change in attitude is needed, for the workers to know that they are paid by the “customers” or clients (patients in this case) indirectly. I guess it is an extremely difficult task, but still achievable. There are many programs and awareness campaigns for doctors etc now and I am optimistic that things will improve one day.

    No one can use the excuse of being overworked in the state sector – as we can clearly see in this picture. The problem with many places in my experience is that every staff category (doctors, nurses, labourers etc) is independent and not responsible to the institution- as they all have strong political backing, trade unions etc etc. This is very detrimental to the functioning of the unit, where a supervisor/doctor/nurse often cannot ask the labourer or attendant to do a task. This needs to change and teamwork needs to be restored.

    We also have to point out and reward (positive reinforcement) the good stories – but sadly the media and the public only talks about the negative aspects (which gives them coverage) -this by itself will not encourage better behaviour among many.

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    bbs/jhu wants to save cows and goats.but they are not warried re humans. they like to slater them . 1971/1989/may 2006

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    Dear all,

    Thank you for the comments – negative and positive – unfortunately you have only my word for it and the picture. The intention was merely to raise awareness not to offend.

    As citizens we must strive to develop a country in which we want to live in. Blaming the Government for everything is not the answer but it is our duty as citizens to bring to our leaders and through them to the administration that runs this country that problems exists.

    Join the Citizens Watch!

    https://www.facebook.com/CitizenWatchSriLanka?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite

    Happy to see the ripple effect! Thank you to those who started this group!

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    First of all why do they have TV’s in hospitals. Why do any of the staff need to watch TV. They are paid to look after patients . So i hope the Minister of Health investigate this matter and not sweep it under the carpet. This is evidence .

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    I think correct time to meet Dr Mervin Silva. He is going to look after all public services in the Sirizimbabe.He will tie these atendants nurses and doctors in to tree, hurray

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    This damn country needs a dictatorship. Democracy will never work. It’s doubtful whether this damn country will ever reach a appreciable level of basic civilized human living.

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    Ban Govt Doctors private practice

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    After a very critical road accident, my father had been in the Emergency Treatment Unit of the Colombo National Hospital (known as General Hospital) for 9 days (from 25 March – 03 April 2013). Even though we had very strict visiting hours to see him – 3 times a day, I never left the hospital. I used to walk around the hospital during non-visiting hours and sleep on those wooden half broken benches in the night. I have seen the very few areas (not more than 3 I guess) where they have TVs and also non-interestedly watched whatever that was tuned on since I had nothing else to do, but I have never seen the hospital staff flocked around the TV except for the 8 o’clock news. Lot of staff people gather to watch the 8 o’clock news because most of them are doing over 12 hours shifts and they miss most of what’s happening outside the hospital walls. Selyna. D. Peiris has just put a picture of some people looking up (includes 1 nurse and around 3 attendants, rest are all outsiders), and then condemned the whole hospital by saying they were watching a soap opera and neglecting the patients. What a pathetic approach.

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      what a reply , did you read the whole story ? pretty sure they are all watching 8.o clock Rupavahini/Swaranavahini news !!!!!!!

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      I hope Kasun, that your children or relatives are not in the same position as that poor girl. Then, you’ll start having a little bit of compassion for the person who took the trouble to complain and correct the downward decline of our beautiful country.

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        Goraka, I had my father in the Emergency Treatment Unit (5 days in the ventilator out of 9 days he stayed there) and only because of the dedication of the NH doctors and nurses he survived the 2 serious brain surgeries. He came out of there in stable condition and I admitted him to a private hospital for his hip surgery where he died of Pneumonia. So if you are telling me I should have not have my children or relatives in the same position, you have no idea what I went through. I was there 9 days, 24hrs, saw things in my own eyes, so I will not let anyone mislead the public by just posting a photograph.

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    I am quite certain that it did not happen the way it is described here…and the chances are that the photograph was taken later when the patient has been attended to….Going by the article writer should be quite busy looking for doctors etc etc and I doubt it very much whether he/she had the presence of mind to take photographs….and the photo suggests that they are all (including some visitors) looking at something like a news flash (like the monk who set fire on himself ) than watching a soap opera…and we must not forget that they are human too. But in the same manner we must admit that “watching TV’ business happens all the time in our wards and sometimes it does look ugly in the eye of the beholder…

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    Inquiries were made at the National hospital of Srilanka as unwarranted publicity is given regarding patient care.
    This patient is Miss N…………,who was brought to the accident service admission counter by Good Samaritans on the 28th/05/2013 at 7:43 p.m. following a fall from a bus. The said patient was conscious, rational and due to the injuries to the face had blood stained sputum and retching.
    She 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(thirty seven minutes & NOT TWO HOURS). It is note worthy that there were 17 more patients were undergoing investigations & treatment at the O.P.D during that 37 minutes.
    Miss N…..was later transferred to Ward 79 N.H.S.L for further observation & Management where she is still conscious, rational and recovering from her wounds.
    Nowhere in the world at any accident & emergency unit a patient is examined by the doctors, relevant investigations- X-rays etc done, and admitted to a ward especially when the patient is conscious, within 37 minutes.
    The staff at the accident service should by praised for this endeavor.

    When photography is prohibited with in the hospital premises, how come the writer takes a photograph violating basic laws. Furthermore soap operas are not watched in this manner.
    Statistics reveal that the Accident Service (O.P.D) of the National Hospital SriLanka is the prime center which filters and manages patients following trauma with multiple injuries. In the month of April 2013 alone 8486 patients had sought treatment. In the year 2012 one hundred and eight thousand patients were cared upon at the Accident service.
    Since its inception all the major disaster and accident victims were cared for at the Accident service. This service rendered over the years is highly appreciated by the general public and should be commended especially when medical care is free.

    It is worth recollecting the quote posted on the Facebook timeline of Selyna Peiris on the 28th April: –
    “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” – Gautama Buddha
    Sri Lanka is one of the countries where freedom of media & speech is misused.

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      ” Sri Lanka is one of the countries where freedom of media & speech is misused.”

      yes , damn right ! watch ITN,Rupavahini, Swaranavahini or listen to SLBC or read Daily Noise or any of their proxies to find out who abuse the media.

      Lasantha W , Prageeth E , Upali T , Tissanayagam el at had been paid handsomely for misusing the media in SL.

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        Lasantha W , Prageeth E , Upali T , Tissanayagam el at had been paid handsomely for misusing the media in SL.

        Prageeth bugger has been found in France. Time for Navi Pillai to change her New Year party plans.

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      On 7 June 2013 10:28, Secretary of Healthcare wrote:

      Dear Ms. Selyna Pieris,

      This refers to your email communication regarding an incident experienced when you were kind enough to take a patient ( a trainee nurse ) who was thrown out of a bus in front of you to the General Hospital of Colombo on 28.05.2013.

      As the Secretary, Ministry of Health, firstly I wish to thank you for coming forward to take this patient to a hospital as nowadays many people tend to ignore this type of involvement and secondly for taking action to bring the incident to my notice along with the photograph related to the incident. I am very concerned about the series of events that had taken place after the patient was taken inside the hospital and I can understand your feeling of anger and disgust . We welcome this type of information coming from the public as such feedback or complaints help us to understand the shortcomings in the healthcare delivery system and rectify them promptly.

      I have already taken action to appoint a high powered committee from the Ministry of Health to inquire into this incident and necessary action will be taken as soon as the report is available.

      Unfortunately all the good work done by the dedicated staff in the health sector get masked and undermined by the unacceptable behavior of some people like the ones you have encountered on this particular day. Once again I thank you about your concern and the steps you have taken as regards this matter and without getting discouraged let us all work towards a brighter future for our country.

      Best regards,
      Dr.Y.D.Nihal Jayathilaka
      Secretary/ Ministry of Health

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        Acknowledgement of an e-mail is the courtesy of a Government official. Initiating an inquiry into a false complaint is also his official duty. This should be investigated as the image of the country is tarnished with malicious intentions.

        The wall mounted television which is supposed to be watched in the picture is next to the X-ray department at the Accident Service, and was fixed almost 15 years ago.

        This was meant for the waiting patients & the hospital staff of other hospitals who bring in patients for investigations, admissions etc. to while away their time.

        In the picture published there is no patient who is vomiting blood and absolutely no doctors whatsoever. Now where are the doctors who are supposed to be watching soap operas and the 17 patients who were supposed to be treated at that point in time?

        There is now a communal twist to this incident. Infact the patient has spoken to the doctors, matron, and the administrative staff of the hospital in Sinhala language. Furthermore the patient herself has not made any complaint to the relevant authorities.

        Why is Selyna Peiris being a third party so worried? Is there a third party trying to destabilize the Government’s efforts?

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    They are not only paid a salary to watch TV, they get unlimited overtime as well – not even checked, just paid. Then, there is not money left over to buy drugs or even syringes for the patients.

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