The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has sought the assistance of gynecologists in connection with the investigations into alleged sterilization of mothers by a doctor in Kurunegala. Reportedly, a number of important facts have been revealed.
Staff members involved in surgeries and their responsibility
The number of staff members allowed to be present in the operations theatre when a cesarean operation takes place is nine. It is carried out under the supervision of a Visiting Obstetrician and Gynecologist (VOG). The remaining eight persons include a Senior Health Officer, Assistant Doctor, nurses and other assistants.
In case an issue arises with regard to a cesarean operation, the VOG is held responsible. Dr Saibdeen Shafi of the Kurunegala Hospital, who is currently in custody, is also a senior doctor. Therefore, should any legal issue arise with regard to operations he performed, the VOG who took part in the operation is required to take the responsibility.
A surgery is performed by a team; therefore, in case a legal issue arises, all those took part in it must take responsibility, both as individuals and as a team.
The legal background and the Penal Code
The Penal Code of Sri Lanka, under section 310 and 311, focuses on ‘hurt’ and ‘grievous hurt’, respectively.
According to the Penal Code, the privation of any member or joint (section 311 d.) and the destruction or permanent impairment of the powers of any member or joint (section 311 e.), are considered grievous hurt.
Section 312 of the Penal Code describes causing hurt intentionally.
An offence punishable by one year in jail and/ or Rs 1,000 fine!
Section 314 says: “Whoever, except in t case provided for by section 325, voluntarily causes hurt shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”
Whoever voluntarily causes hurt on provocation, according to the Penal Code, may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to fifty rupees, or with both.
Unfortunately, we are still using these archaic laws.
However, the CID has already recorded statements from VOGs working at the Kurunegala Hospital with regard to incident.
Experts’ opinion and Facebook experts
Medical experts said that in these types of incidents, mainly it’s the doctors who must take the responsibility. They went on to state that since the fallopian tubes are not usually visible from the outside and therefore needs to be taken out, damaging such an organ without being noticed by others is impossible.
Due to the nature of racist misinformation circulated by people with a political agenda, the reputation of the entire medical profession has been damaged, they said, adding that people who believe misinformation circulated through social media do not believe in their professional opinion.
In addition to VOGs working at the Kurunegala Hospital, the CID has reportedly gathered information from a number of prominent VOGs in the island.
DIG and Hospital Director
Investigations have revealed that no evidence has been found to substantiate that a doctor of the National Tawheed Jamaath had sterilized 4,000 Sinhala-Buddhist mothers without their consent.
It has also been revealed that with the support the Divaina newspaper, SLPP’s Kurunegala DIG Kithsiri Jayalath spread this misinformation and Weerawansa’s Kurunegala Hospital Director Weera Bandara exaggerated it.