30th July 2000
By Tania Fernando
A patient who had entered a leading hospital in Colombo to channel a top orthopaedic surgeon was in for a rude shock.
The patient who had entered hospital on July 17 with a pain in his shoulder was given pain killers and an injection and was feeling better by the next day. However, since he was already in hospital he decided to have a full medical check-up.
After all tests were done the general physician (GP) at the hospital had detected something in his right rib and had an X-ray taken.
"The GP was not happy with the X-ray and wanted me to do a scan," the patient said. He further said he was requested to go to another private hospital on July19 as they had no scanning facilities.
The technician at that hospital who had kept all the reports of the tests had informed him they would be returned with the scan report which would be ready for collection that evening.
When he returned to the hospital the sister in charge had told him that the doctor wanted him to get ready for a biopsy as he was already in the operating theatre.
"In the operating theatre the surgeon kept pressing my left rib and wanted to know whether I was in pain. After a few presses I said, "yes, it hurts a little." He marked the rib and then gave me a local anaesthetic", the patient said.
About 45 minutes after the surgery he was brought to an observation area. As he was screaming in pain, his wife had requested the surgeon that she would like to see him.
"When I entered the room the surgeon said he had operated on the wrong side and needed to take another X-ray, and would have to operate again the next day", she said.
Later on in the day he had spoken to the patient and said he had made a mistake and had to do another biopsy the following day, but was not very apologetic about the mistake he had made, the patient said.
The following day the operation was once again done on the correct side under general anaesthesia.
Meanwhile, the GP who had not visited the patient was very surprised to see two patches on the body. While the orthopaedic surgeon had said the patient should stay for a few days more, the GP had said he could go home. Therefore, he was discharged on July 22, five days after he entered hospital.
They are still unsure whether they have paid the surgeon for two surgeries, since the bills mention doctor's charges without a breakdown. However, on their insisting, the hospital authorities had made an entry in pen on the receipt stating they had been charged twice for the operation.
The question they ask is why did the surgeon not check the bed head ticket to see what had to be done and how had he operated without first waiting for the results of the scan.
The patient who has now lost faith and feels totally disgusted by what
has happened is now planning to go to India for further treatment and a
By Nilika de Silva
The genial minister Dharmasiri Senanayake, hailed by President Kumaratunga as a complete human being, capable of winning over enemies by his smiling face, was cremated with full state honours at Independence Square yesterday, marking an end of a political career that took him to high realms.
"When the history of tourism in this country is recorded the service he has rendered will be written in gold," the President said in a tribute to Mr. Senanayake who rose from the chairmanship of the Ceylon Tourist Board to be the Minister of Tourism and the Chairman of the World Tourism Organisation's Executive Committee.
Mr. Senanayake, who came into frontline national politics when he contested then prime minister Dudley Senanayake at Dedigama in 1970 was cremated in the presence of several ministers, relatives and friends though the common people were restricted by tight security arrangements.
Mr. Senanayake passed away suddenly on Monday at the age of 67. His body was taken to his home base of Warakapola and Kegalle and then brought to the Colombo headquarters of the SLFP of which he had been the General Secretary since 1992 and played a key role in the meteoric rise of Chandrika Kumaratunga to the highest office.
Yesterday morning the body was taken to parliament where he had sat for the past 11 years first as an MP representing the Kegalle district and then on the national list.
IN the afternoon, toe body was brought in a motorcade to Independence Square for the final rites.
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike with whom Mr. Senanayake had worked closely for more than three decades in a message said she was deeply saddened by the loss of a sincere loyal and dedicated friend.
Among those who gave orations at Independence Square were Speaker K. B. Ratnayake, Karunasena Kodituwakkyu on behalf of the main opposition UNP, Ministers Batty Weerakoon and M. H. M. Ashraff on behalf of the Leftist parties and the SLMC.
Minister Senanayake's brother, Ratna Deshapriya Senanayake — himself
a veteran politician — delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of the family
before the pyre was lit at 6.45 p.m., taking the Minister of Tourism and
Aviation beyond the sunset.
Hundreds of priests Priests, nuns and lay people from all parts of the country gathered at St. Lucia's Cathedral in Kotahena yesterday to take part in a concelebrated requiem mass for veteran Priest Rev. Fr. Emile Perera who passed away on Thursday. Born and bred in Kotahena and educated at St. Benedict's College in Kotahena, Fr. Emile went to seminary straight from school and was ordained a priest in 1962. For almost four decades, the humble and often jovial Fr. Emile served in parishes ranging from Ratmalana to Polonnaruwa and also worked in the Philippines and California.
His body was brought to his home town of Kotahena on Friday for a night
of prayer at the Cathedral where he discovered his vocation. The requiem
mass took place at 10 a.m. after which fellow priests, friends and relatives
carried his body for burial at the Madampitiya cemetery. After a full life
of doing the will of God and serving the people, especially the poor and
the marginalised, Fr. Emile was laid to rest with the biblical greeting
echoing over him - "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
The death of Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake has not only brought grief to all and sundry but more so to those in the media, both the print and electronic sector.
When he was the Media Minister Mr. Senanayake had a good rapport with the media. He was one who never lost his cool with the media either at any press briefing or at the post Cabinet briefings. He was always smiling and an affable personality.
Those in the media had no problems at anytime. Even if he was confronted at any time which was very rare, he would win the day with his smiling face and end the meeting with a joke which would be taken up in the right spirit.
It was during the time he was in the Opposition and even before that he had created a rapport with the media which stood in good stead when he became the Media Minister.
Born on March 30,1933, Mr. Senanayake remained the Vice President of the People's Alliance and the General Secretary of the SLFP until his death. It is said that Mr. Senanayake while he was in the Peradeniya University was a freelancer for the then Lankadipa.
He had his education at Udugampola and Ananda College, Colombo from where he entered the Peradeniya University. After securing a degree in economics Mr. Senanayake entered the Colombo Law College and passed out as an attorney.
He was a lecturer in economics at the Vidyodaya University for a brief period. In 1970 he created history as a political novice by contesting the late Dudley Senanayake who was three times Prime Minister of Ceylon.
He later became Chairman of the Ceylon Tourist Board and contributed immensely to tourism and the promotion of tea. As a student and later as a director of the Pacific Area Travel Association he has travelled widely.
After being returned to Parliament in 1989 from Dedigama he served in several Parliamentary Committees. He worked as a special Parliamentary Committee member of the SAARC. Mr. Senanayake died as a bachelor. As a writer he contributed mainly to Sinhala newspapers and magazines.
The media have lost a great friend with his death.
- M. Ismeth
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
Minister Mahinda Rajapakse who is emerging as a leader acceptable to the Maha Sangha and Sinhala Buddhist groups, has called for more extensive discussions on the proposed constitutional reforms so that a broader consensus is reached before they are presented in parliament.
In an interview with The Sunday Times Mr. Rajapakse said that except for the ministers who took part in the dialogue with the UNP, the others did not have a full understanding of the proposed reforms.
Q: As a politician who represents the Sinhala-Buddhist force and a deep South constituency, how do you respond to the Maha Sangha's opposition to the new constitutional proposals which are likely to be presented in Parliament shortly?
A: Constitutional reforms are an emotional subject for all communities here, as it deals with power-sharing. That is why greater debate should be generated. Not only the Maha Sangha, all other forces should be made to understand that our conflicts and differences of opinions could be ironed out only through discussion. We respect the Maha Sangha and cannot afford to cross swords with them.
Q: But the Sangha is to launch a series of protests and call for the abandoning of the new constitution. They claim that Article 9 of the constitution which protects the status of Buddhism in the country is to be amended and the two main parties have agreed to this.
A: Nobody in his right mind would dream of undermining Buddhism and wouldn't wish to reduce its status. We have a tradition. Even the British in 1815 made sure that Buddhism was protected and retained its privileged status. And we in the SLFP also have a tradition because it was our founder S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who introduced the 'pancha maha balavegaya' concept. We already have a racial problem. so why have a religious issue also? From a socio-political angle, it would be hara-kiri.
Q: The government is also facing opposition from other parties?
A: The UNP seems to be at its weakest and naturally its stances also change like the swing of the pendulum. Tamil parties have not rejected the proposals, except the TULF. The President seems to be confident about getting a two-thirds majority in the House.
Q: As a senior minister, are you satisfied with the way things are going?
A: Nobody could be ever satisfied completely. We have our gray areas. As for constitutional reforms, I think the Cabinet should be first allowed an opportunity to discuss the proposals. Most of us have not been party to the discussion and we ourselves have our questions to raise. Once the Cabinet, not just after merely glancing over, but having actually digested the proposals, should collectively approve it. Though it could prove time consuming, my personal belief is that extensive discussions should be held. It is through greater discussion that we can reach broader consensus.
Q: With the UNP leader walking out of the talks table and refusing to support the reforms if they are being rushed through and the TULF rejecting it outright, don't you feel that the package is doomed? How do you propose to muster necessary Parliamentary support with a mere 105 seats?
A: With the UNP on its way out and the PA representing all anti- UNP forces, we only managed to win 105 Parliamentary seats. This itself shows that the present electoral system is unfair and denies fair representation. But receiving the 2/3 majority seems a possibility at the way UNPers are crossing over to the PA. At this rate, the entire UNP would take PA membership!
Q: In your opinion, with a UNP mass exodus, what is causing the UNPers to leave the party fold?
A: We are in power. While we are well versed in opposition politics having languished there for a long spell of 17 years the UNP is addicted to power. It seems they cannot survive without power. They see us continuing for another term. Some I believe are not interested in contesting again. It is all a power game. But at this moment, any support is significant now.
Q: But crossovers on the eve of an election is nothing new. And could the senior PA members be happy to have UNPers crossing over to the PA at will, and receiving more perks and privileges and portfolios?
A: It is a crucial time for the country. The government cannot be blind to the reasons why there are so many cross overs. Even UNPers are confident that we would win another term, and believe it is here that power would lie till 2006. If it is the constitutional reforms which can alleviate the country's worst problem- the costly war, we should take anyone. Their past and present are immaterial.
Q: Will the government go in for marathon sessions to have a Constitution precipitously approved by the House ?
A: It is likely because the government seems absolutely determined to place it before the House. My personal opinion is that we should not foist a vital instrument like a Constitution on the people the way President Jayewardene did. Anyway, these reforms have generated much debate. Yet the final draft now should be discussed with the people, the clergy and other parties. Reaching the 51% mark in anything or getting a 2/3rds majority are not the issues. Actually arriving at broader consensus is the important thing.
Q: With the demise of SLFP General Secretary Dharmasiri Senanayake, several ministers are supposedly lobbying for the powerful post? Being a likely candidate, how are your chances?
A: I will never reject it if it is offered. But as you say there are many vying for the post and one such may succeed.
Q: Recent reports claimed that the NIB has warned you to take precautions against acts of terrorism? What follow up action has been taken?
A: My security has been increased as the NIB claims that my name appears on the LTTE hit list. My contention is that there is so much one can do to protect oneself but there is no escape from a human bomb. When your time is up, you have to go. So I concentrate on my work and rest content.
Q: How confident are you of winning the next election with supportive parties such as the SLMC and the CWC abandoning the ship? Hasn't the PA alienated all the forces which once rallied round it?
A: It is a tragedy that we have alienated some forces which joined us to defeat the UNP. It is always good to traverse the field together. There are a lot of parties which supported us. Our agreement with the SLMC was not to field any Muslim candidates. Maybe they view the situation differently now. But I am sure, when it comes to crucial national issues, everybody would rally round us. We are in power. People have given us the pradeshiya sabhas, provincial councils, and elected a President with a majority of over 700,000 votes. We will be stronger with the UNP Alternative Group also backing us up.
By Nilika de Silva
The story of a female athlete who is harassed by a politician as she races towards realising her dreams at the Olympics is to be shot soon with Sanath Gunatillake playing the minister's role.
The film which is to be shot in Sri Lanka as well as the United States or Canada will incorporate scenes of the athlete training and taking part in events abroad.
Sangeetha Weeraratne plays the role of the young athlete who has come from the village and is seeing the city for the first time.
The jealous wife of the minister is played by Geetha Kanthi Jayakody.
"I have been told that I am playing the role of a minister's wife, a minister who is very fond of sports," said Geetha Kanthi adding, "I don't normally like playing tough females but in this case I am playing the role of a wife who is fighting to keep her husband." Geetha spoke to The Sunday Times soon after a ceremony at the Galle Face Hotel on Wednesday to mark the shooting of the film.
"I have still not got the script but I have read the synopsis," said Sangeetha adding, "All I know is that it is a story of an athlete who comes to the city from a village. She has the determination and the ambition to make it one day to the Olympics."
"Because it is the story of a runner I had only asked for one thing, that I require a training period with a coach, to build up a muscular body and that I have been given," Sangeetha said. Sanath said he had not read the script as yet, but added "You know this is going to be a little controversial. I don't want to damage or insult or do any kind of harm to a person or a party or anything like that." Director Mohomed Niyaz stresses it is not a film based on a real life situation. "This is a film representing youth who face various challenges in life and emerged victorious," Mr. Niyaz said.
"They have will power and courage. That is why this theme has been
selected. The theme of the sprinter, a girl from the village who has never
even seen Colombo and who dreams of running at the Olympics. There are
great challenges behind that, sacrifices and striving," he said. The
film is to be produced by Sarath Namalgama. The shooting of the film is
likely to begin around November this year.
Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte's family elephant, "Gomaraya", died of dehydration on Friday opposite his residence in Kandy.
The elephant which was kept tied up in front of the Minister's house was 60-years-old.
At the 1994 General Elections this elephant was used for election campaign purposes with a chair placed on its back.
Following the death of the elephant, police security at Gen. Ratwatte's residence has been tightened.
From the days when Harris Ratwatte was the Diyawadana Nilame of the
Maligawa, Gomaraya had participated in the Peraheras of the Maligawa and
the Vishnu Devale.
By Shelani de Silva
Pamitha Jayakody, the key witness in the corruption scandal rocking the Seva Vanitha Movement, gave evidence on Wednesday before a probe committee — while another VIP wife in the centre of the dispute took a new line of defence.
During three hours testimony, Ms. Jay-akody is reported to have submitted documents relating to charges against the movement's secretary Kusum Wickremanayake.
The charges relate mainly to the sale of furniture at a grossly under-estimated value, the misuse of vehicles and interference in the work of the movement.
Upto Friday Ms. Wickremanayake had not been questioned by the probe team.
Meanwhile the much awaited annual general meeting of the Seva Vanitha movement on Thursday saw Ms. Wickremanayke and Minister Hema Ratnayake hammering the media for what they saw as an over-playing of recent events.
Ms. Wickrema-nayake thanked Ms. Ratnayake who heads the movement for supporting her during the past few difficult weeks.
She claimed the movement had done much work and President Kumaratunga was happy with the progress to the extent that she wanted to turn the movement into an authority. She added that when the PA came into power a member had informed her that there were corruptive allegations over which an inquiry was held and a member removed.
She said it was unfortunate that a member who worked closely with the movement was now coming out with serious allegations of corruption. Ms. Ratnayake in her speech lashed out at the media, accusing them of trying to make a mountain out of a minute problem.
She said the report of the probe team would be handed over to the President and the matter would end there.
Referring to the main allegation on the sale of furniture, she said: "We had to move to a smaller building and there was no way we could take all the furniture. So we decided to sell the furniture to those we know so that when we move to a bigger office we can get the furniture back. I can guarantee that we can get the furniture back and it is in our custody.
I want the members to know that there is no need to get worried over such allegations."
Ms.Wickremnayake had earlier made a total denial of selling the furniture at low cost but her statement on Thursday appeared to be on a new line.
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