By Grusha Andrews –
First thing first.
I have no intention of white washing the infamous Dr Shafi Siyabdeen who has allegedly caused unconsented infertility in 4000 mothers. Whatever the truth of that allegation may be, it is obvious that Dr Shafi was involved in a money laundering exercise which would put a final nail on his professional life for sure.
However, alternatively, in this weird country it won’t be a huge surprise if Dr Shafi was resurrected from the death of his profession and was made Governor of the Eastern Province tomorrow, or something.
But that is not the real issue here.
It is now ten days since a guy with a dead political life ignited the whole Sri Lankan society with Islamophobia targeting an allegation surrounding Dr Shafi. As I suggested previously we must not even mention the name of that putrid professor for Rajarata University who is trying to give oxygen to his dying political potential by igniting racism. By his own admission he and others have known of this atrocity for quite the while and waited for the opportune moment for themselves to “reveal“ it.
Gynecologist Cats That Sh*t On The Infertility Rock
It is questionable how an entire fraternity of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are maintaining an official silence (excluding one or two sporadic personal statements on Facebook by expatriate, retired Gynecologists) regarding this professional crisis that is eroding the trust of the public in the entire medical profession. The magnitude of this destruction is of a national scale. They are behaving pretty much like the cat that defecated on a rock and is unable to cover it up with sand.
Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SLCOG) is the apex professional body for its specialty. It is also the only official body that lays down clinical guidelines, norms, guidelines for patient safety, facilitate post graduate education and is committed to maintaining the good name and the highest professional standards of the discipline. It is the foremost and the un-challengeable organization that stands for the discipline of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Sri Lanka.
When a super serious allegation is made against Dr Shafi that he made 400 mothers infertile without consent whilst under the supervision of a Consultant Gynecologist leading to a national uproar and calamity, the SLCOG is maintaining meek silence as if gone deaf and dumb. What they should have done is to immediately offer their technical expertise to the Ministry of Health without even waiting for a request. They should have immediately engaged with the post Easter Sunday Sri Lankan society still in uncertainty and shock to alleviate their hysterical reaction to this allegation. They should have issued a professional statement to control the escalation.
Instead what happened?
What happened was that a member of the council of SLCOG called Professor Hemantha Dodampahala issued a statement that women can be made infertile by pressing the Fallopian tubes with an instrument during the Caesarian Section. Theoretically it is plausible that if any live tissue, blood vessel or tube, when compressed with a surgical instrument for an hour or two will obviously lose its vitality and die. You don’t need a professor to spread that two bit theory. A child knows that.
By this logic, if a patient undergoing a surgery today in their abdominal cavity, perineal cavity of any other organ dies tomorrow, the relatives can complain that this was due to the compressing of an organ by the surgeon. From tomorrow it would be impossible for a patient to die without the doctor being implicated with murder. Tomorrow if a Muslim patient dies after being treated by a Sinhala doctor, his Muslim relatives can make the same allegation.
What Dodampahala is raping is the very nobility of the medical profession. Its humanity and vulnerability. From tomorrow it might be impossible for a patient to die. Dodampahala has taught the public the theory of keeping the knife to the throat of the doctors.
Does The Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians And Gynecologist Have Morals?
Dodampahala and all other Gynecologists who came of Hiru and Derana TV wagging surgical instruments and instilling mass hysteria and fear are doing so irresponsibly, destroying the trust placed on the medical profession by the public. Do these Gynecologists actually have a moral background to do these things? If you search a little deep on the internet you will find the black marks and the red spots of their histories. You will find out what their political orientations are.
The President of the SLCOG has a huge responsibility to become the professional mediator between the profession and the public. Because Dr Shafi worked under the supervision of a member of the SLCOG. The President of the SLCOG should have taken immediate measures to carry out a confidential internal fact finding about the conduct of the Consultant connected to this situation. He should have come out to the public and shared the needful facts and give the public the confidence that this problem is being tackled at the professional level. He should have been the builder of confidence in the medical profession when it is crumbling in all direction. It was the moral prerogative of the President of the SLCOG.
But does Professor Athula Kaluarachchi have the moral background to do the right thing?
I write below the names of the council of the SLCOG.
Current President – Professor Athula Kaluarachchi
2020 President elect – Dr U.D.P. Rathnasiri.
2018 President – Professor P.S. Wijesinghe
Current secretary – Dr Harsha Atapattu
Other council members: Doctors Ruwan Silva, Madura Jayawardhane, Sanath Lanerolle, Chandana Jayasundare, Mangala Dissanayake, K. Muthunthan, Rukshan Fernandopulle, Janaki Kumarasinghe, Samanthi Premarathne, Professor C Randeniya, Professor Tiran Dian, S.P Akmeemana, Dharshna Abeygunawardene, Prasad Rannulu, Dammika Silva, Sudath Senaratne, H.M.J.N. Herath, Dinuka Lankeshwara, Sumith Warnasuriya, Nalin Rodriogo, Wasanha Galappaththi, P.H.P.Silva, Professor S.H. Dodampahala, A. Seethambarapillai, – K. P.D. Liyanagama, A.K..P Ranaweera, Chaminda Mathota, Chaminda Kandauda, Professor Jayantha Jayawardana, Lakshman Senanayake and Gamini Perera.
My question is: in this long list of doctors and professors, isn’t there even one person who has a moral awakening in the face of this national and professional disaster?
No Gynecologist, in fact, no doctor of any discipline today can work with pure intention towards the patient due to the deprecation of this noble profession by these individuals. Isn’t there a single person in this council who has the moral courage to oppose it?
Why isn’t s single council member of the SLCOG sanding up to put a stop to the fear psychosis, racism and gray interpretations spread by these opportunists? Why are they not resisting the fear mongering amongst the normal citizens who have no medical education?
This council has actually passed the golden hour where they should have come before the public and sat together to alleviate their fears. At least now they should get over their passivity and stop the betrayal of the noble profession by opportunists by educating the public about the reality of this issue.
At least now they should hold a press conference and correct the misconceptions of society regarding this issue and bring out the unbiased views. If they do not have the knowledge and the ability to do that there is no point of them walking lordly in their colorful robes , promoting themselves, travelling the world and using their status to increase their private practice. They are not worthy of their empty opulence.
Will they protect their colleague, the Consultant Gynecologist at the Kurunegala hospital? Will they ascertain allegations? Will they come out with their professional opinion? Wil they alleviate the “doctor phobia” among the public?
The SLCOG is childishly attempting to cover the Fallopian tubes of the entire nation with a thousand rupee note. They are a bunch of jokers like the naked emperor. The reason that these professionals cannot do their professional duty by the nation is that many of them have dark pasts behind their opulent lives. I will not touch upon those in this article. How many have got here and remain here is a topic for another article.
Reality Of The Obstetricians And Gynecologists In Sri Lanka.
The government circulars clearly state that a Senior House Officer (SHO) such as Dr Shafi cannot operate on patients without the supervision of the Consultant. But the reality of Sri Lanka is that the Consultants are somewhat scared of the SHO (Not all). The intern house officers and the post graduate trainees (Registrars) come and go. It is the SHO who is the constant id the Consultant’s life. So even the interns and the Registrars are scared of the SHO. Because the Consultants usually look to maintain the good relationship with the SHO.
Whilst the Consultant it doing private channeling it is the SHO that gives him the time and peace to do so. Therefore many Consultants don’t impose too many regulations on the SHO. Whether they come to work or not his monthly diary is signed. His full 120 hours of overtime payment is recommended and forwarded by the Consultant. Even if the SHO comes to work in the morning or not he releases the Consultant at night for channeling. So many Consultants don’t actively look for their SHO in the morning (again, not all are like this).
During the times when Registrars are not available, the SHOs carry the burden of the units. Many consultants who work away from Colombo and main cities appointed to places such as Kurunegala, Jaffna, Dambulla etc, suffer from a peculiar “Tuesday to Thursday Syndrome”. They leave their station on Thursday and return only on Tuesday. These are all illegal “leave” that the Consultants avail. It is the SHOs who cover up the Consultant’s absence.
Some Consultants get all the slave labor from the SHO such as getting his cars serviced, getting the tyres changed, going boozing, and going to clean the school of the Consultant’s children etc. Look closely in to the conduct, not only of Gynecologists, but also of Consultants of other specialties. How many days a week do they come to work? If they do come to work, how many hours do they work? Are they in their stations even on the days they are night on call? Are they sometimes not in Yala and Wilpattu? Are they not leaving their units at the mercy of the SHO and off doing their unending recreation- photography, tiger watching and lion watching in Arica, holidaying, building holiday bungalows, building temples, running medical supplies companies, appearing on TV, singing, preaching Buddhism). Whilst they are up to these Shenanigans, it is the SHO who covers up for their physical absence.
Therefore this symbiotic relationship between the Consultant and the SHO is made with money, power, and a “special bond” .This “human relationship“ is beautiful and can’t go wrong till the SHO gets in to hot waters like Dr Shafi. When things go wrong the Consultant, just like the Gynecologist in Teaching Hospital Kurunegala is not to be found. He will not step up to take the legal, professional and moral responsibility and show their decency. The SLCOG also does not have such decency.
How was a Shafi created?
If Dr Shafi was up to this atrocity, you must try to understand how such a powerful creature is created.
That power did not come to him because he was Muslim, political, cunning .That power came to him because the real criminal behind this crime, the supervising consultant who has the legal responsibility towards these alleged atrocity gave Dr Shafi the omnipotence to do that.
Those mothers who are creating drama on the streets of Kurunegala demanding the blood of Dr Shafi, asking that he be hanged, demanding compensation from the government should ask where the supervising Consultant who was responsible for monitoring his junior was, till this alleged ethnic cleansing happened.
If Dr Shafi is equal to a murderer, who is his supervising Consultant equal to?
The supervising Consultant of Kurunnegala Teaching Hospital who birthed, fed, petted, gave the scalpel to Dr Shafi for his own convenience and then looked away is equal to one person. He is equal to the President of our country who knew about the Easter Sunday attack, yet looked away, went to Thirupathi and then went to Singapore. This Consultant is equal to our President who knew but did nothing.
Gentlemen (and the few ladies) of the council of the SLCOG,
Reveal the truth about the Fallopian tubes of the nation that you are currently covering with a thousand rupee note. At least now cover your professional nakedness with the cloth of ethics.
You are being unmasked.
Stop your self-gratification and do a self- analysis.
Do your professional duty.
Come forward as the Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and gynecologists and reveal the truth to the nation and alleviate this mass hysteria.