Patients at the mercy of unmerciful
The grave indiscipline prevailing among government health workers has been highlighted through recent press reports on the conduct of some members of the Suva Seva Sangamaya. They were protesting against the introduction of the finger printing machine for their signing in and out system.
The extent of their indiscipline could be judged by their mode of protest such as urinating into the prepared food for the patients and sabotage of lifesaving equipment in the I.C.U. Such acts will bring the entire working class into disrepute in the eyes of the government and the people. It is the responsibility of trade union leaders to prevent such incidents.
In Sri Lanka, government hospitals are the only institutions where the people who come to transact business are left at the mercy of the minor staff. A visitor to any medical clinic could observe that the minor staff handle the most difficult task of crowd control, which is caused mainly due to inadequate floor space.
In this connection, I wish to recount an incident which occurred at the Eye Hospital, Colombo on May 17. Having gained admission for a minor eye operation on May 14 together with several other patients, it was put off the following day due to strike action. On the 17th morning, we were called upto the Administration Room to prepare for surgery. When I approached the doctors, an attendant who was behind me, said “Meyata Kessa Thiyanawa”. When the doctor requested me to cough, I complied, after which, the Senior Doctor said “operation beha”. I was asked to cure myself and seek re-admission.
Several doctors have examined me on many occasions during the past several weeks. I have not suffered from a cough during this period. I have a habit of clearing my throat occasionally. I was armed with several clinical reports certifying normality. I must say that there was no display of professionalism on the part of the doctors. Besides, that was not the proper manner to treat an octogenarian.