The Director General of Health Services has
called for a complete report from the Ragama Hospital
authorities on the death of a 6-year-old girl, a victim of snake
bite, on Sunday.
The child, Medina, who was admitted to the
hospital at 3.45 p.m. died at 8.30 p.m. without proper care
because there was no bed for her in the Intensive Care Unit,
Hospital sources said.
The Hospitalís Deputy Director Dr. Ms. Lalani
Gurusinghe told The Island that the child was brought to the
Ragama hospital at 3.45 p.m. on March 2 and the parents had said
that the child was bitten by a viper. In accordance with the
snake bite treatment procedure, the child was admitted to a ward
and constantly examined for vital signs.
She said the snake bite treatment procedure had
been followed and she was kept under constant observation. It
was the accepted procedure of the medical experts to monitor and
observe the patient for sometime before administering anti-venine
injections. Only after recording the vital signs, medical
experts would decide whether the patient was in need of the
injection, she said.
She said that the doctors at the Ragama hospital
performed their duties without negligence, but the patient could
not be admitted to the ICU because there was no bed. Had the
child been admitted to ICU her life could have been saved. In
accordance with the hospital policies and procedures a
comprehensive inquiry was held and a complete report on the
childís death had been prepared to be submitted to the Director
General of Health Services, she said.
A medical expert at the Ragama hospital,
speaking on condition of anonymity said that the
non-availability of beds in the ICU for emergency cases had
caused enormous problems in the care of patients. A number of
similar cases had been recorded at the hospital due to the
inadequate bed capacity in the ICU.
He said that whenever snake bite, cardiac and
accident patients were brought to the Ragama hospital,
authorities had no alternative but to call the Gampaha, Negombo,
Kalutara and Mirigama hospitals to check whether emergency
patients could be transferred to those hospitals. Although the
Ragama hospital authorities had been requesting the other
hospitals, in most cases those hospitals, too, did not have
vacant ICU beds. He blamed the Health Ministry for not
increasing the bed capacity in ICUs throughout hospital network
in the country. He also said that inadequate bed capacities in
the ICUs had threatened the lives of emergency patients as a
He added that the child had also passed blood
with urine (haemoglobin urea) and the possible cause of death
could be due to Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation of blood
because the child was not treated in the ICU.