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Calling on all Sri Lankan doctors…

Yesterday I received an email from a mother and a father who claim that their 9-month-old son died due to the negligence of the paediatrician. The description of how they took this baby to the doctor three times within a couple of hours as he had a high fever, and how the doctor did not even check his temperature, was shocking and saddening.

I don’t know how true the story is, or who did what. But the real truth is that a child died unnecessarily, even when health care was available. This isn’t the first time it happened, but I hope it will be the last.

Sri Lanka has a good, free healthcare system. But private hospitals and nursing homes are also available in all the major towns in the country. A majority of doctors enjoy the extra income that they get from their ‘ private practices.’ Since it’s convenient, patients flock to these private hospitals, nursing homes and dispensaries.

There are long queues at the centres everyday, and doctors see up to 50 patients in one evening. They see the patients so fast that they hardly have time to really talk to the patients and find out their symptoms and prescribe the correct medicine.

As a practice, the majority of the doctors don’t even explain to the patients what illnesses they have or  what caused them, simply because they don’t have the time.

My son lost five years due to the fact that not a single doctor or surgeon could identify the ‘tongue-tie’ he had. They all kept saying: “Don’t worry, he’ll talk.” He still hasn’t recovered from the development delay that this caused. No one can give him back the five crucial years he lost.

Parents trust doctors with the lives of their precious children. But sometimes, careless mistakes on the part of medical practioners can cause adverse effects to the lives of innocent children. So, as we call on everyone to save children, I strongly feel that our doctors should be called upon to ensure that no child dies in their hands due to lack of attention or time, or simply due to negligence.

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