Eleven midwives held hostage freed

By Norman Palihawadana and Dilanthi Jayamanne

Eleven midwives taken hostage by a group of nurses and kept locked up in a labour room of the Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama were freed yesterday morning (30).

"We have been deprived of food since last Friday," the victims said.

One of them said that she had been released on the intervention of the police after her husband had complained to the Ragama police.

Asked why the police could not rescue the others who were locked up, a senior police officer said the police had not been able to interfere as it was an internal matter.

Meanwhile, midwives’ trade union sources said their members attached to the labour room had been held hostage by the nurses with the support of minor employees of the hospital.

"A female minor employee who attempted to take some food to the hostages was assaulted by the nurses," the sources said.

Following a protest staged by some minor employees of the hospital, those taken hostage were released.

The Director of the hospital, Dr. U. M. M. Samaranayake said that the nurses of the hospital had infringed on the basic rights of the midwives by locking them inside the labour room and not allowing the other midwives to discharge their duties.

"I tried my best to secure the release of those taken hostage, but the nurses were adamant," he added.


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