Negligence or natural?

In early November, a 35-year-old mother and her newborn died during delivery at the Chilaw Base Hospital. A month later, two more newborns died at the same hospital. The cause of death in all these cases remains a mystery to date.

A special investigation has been launched over the suspicious nature of the deaths of the two infants at the Chilaw Base Hospital, Acting Director of the Chilaw Base Hospital Lalith Poddalgoda told the Daily News.

Though two infants passed away on January 2, their bodies had not been handed over to relatives till January 4.

According to Dr Poddalgoda, the bodies would be definitely handed over to the relatives once the postmortem inquiries are completed.

One infant was born to 21-year-old Tania Kalhari, a resident of Pahala Atthangane in Nalladarankattuwa ,while the other infant was born to 30-year-old Feriand Wadani, a resident of Udappuwa.

Hospital sources stated that these neonatal and maternal deaths have created insecurity among other patients who receive treatment from the hospital.

“It is quite unusual to have three infants and a mother die during childbirth so close to each other,” admitted the Acting Director who took over the administration of the hospital just a month ago.

When it began

According to the first victim, 35-year-old Rasika Jeevani’s husband, Aruna Priyanga, both his wife and baby were healthy until they were admitted to the hospital in time for the delivery.

“We channelled doctors from the beginning. They did not say anything was wrong with either of them. We were to have our second child. I admitted her to the hospital and on my wife’s file, it was written that she was to have a cesarean operation. I too informed the nurses this when they took her in, but they didn’t pay any attention to it. We even informed the senior officers of this, but it was of no use. In the end, they said that they conducted a normal delivery, but both died in the process” Now they say that her file said that she did not want a cesarean birth and that she had signed against it. All I ask is to show the signature they say which she has placed. I also want a transparent investigation done into this, he added.

Postmortem inquiries

Postmortem inquiries into the death of Kalhari’s child have revealed that the mother’s diabetes levels had caused complications which led to the infant’s death. Kalhari, however, said that she had no diabetic condition during her pregnancy. Her mother, in the meantime, said the hospital authorities needed to take the blame for the death of their newborn. When it comes to Feriand Wadani’s child, however, it seemed that the authorities of the hospital were not interested in finding out the reason behind the death and as per request of the parents, the child’s body was allowed to be buried at the general cemetery on Sunday (6) afternoon.

It is the responsibility of the authorities to investigate all suspicious deaths. Even the Acting Director himself has admitted that these were unnatural deaths. The Acting Director said that they have informed the relevant institutes to find out whether the cause for these deaths was any particular germ that had spread at the hospital premises.

When the Daily News visited the Chilaw Base Hospital to investigate into the incident, though the Acting Director granted us permission to get information and take pictures, the ward officers did not let us come in, clearly showing that they had something to hide.



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