Lady doctor’s death jolts authorities
into inspecting beauty parlours


By Dilanthi Jayamanne and Norman Palihawadana

The Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) yesterday said it was carrying out investigations into the death of a female doctor at a beauty clinic at Visakha Road, Bambalapitiya following the administration of an antibiotic intravenously on Tuesday (12).

CDDRA Director, Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva said that all precautionary measures would be taken. All drugs which were used at the clinic as well as all personnel working in it would be investigated. "We cannot comment on the incident before a full scale investigation is carried out," he said, adding that an impartial inquiry would be carried out.

Dr. P. A. Priyangi (47) was serving at the Plastic Surgery Unit of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children at the time of her death. Her husband is an engineer serving at the Ports Authority.

She was a mother of two children.

The deceased was resident of Senanayake Mawatha, Nawala.

The Police Spokesman’s Office revealed that Dr. Priyangi had visited the beauty clinic at 1.00 pm to have some dark patches around her eyes removed and the treatment had commenced around 3.00 pm. The process involved skin grafting, Police sources revealed.

However, the doctor had developed a serious allergic reaction to the antibiotic administered to her.

Dr. Nimal Gamage the owner of the clinic was arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division on Tuesday night. The Police Spokesman’s office said the doctor in custody had told the police that he had administered the antibiotic injection to the female doctor’s neck to prepare her for the surgical procedure.

Dr. Gamage has received his specialist training from the US. In his statement to the police he said that he had been residing in the United States for a long period. On returning to the country he had set up the clinic in Bambalapitiya. He said that Dr. Priyangi had been to his Clinic on previous occasions for treatment, according to police.

The police took into custody all certificates and documents belonging to Dr. Gamage into custody. They said they would also question all his customers. The clinic was patronised mainly by the elite.

Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority, Rumy Marzook warned that all beauty clinics and salons would be inspected.

Meanwhile, the Spokesman for the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), Dr. Navin Soysa, contacted for comment, said that such incidents only emphasised the need for a Foreign Specialist Evaluation System (FSES) and a Specialist Registry. It would helped people to receive proper treatment and care. The public would be able to log on to the website of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) or the Health Ministry and find out the specialists available, he said.

Dr. Soysa said that the GMOA had already prepared such a proposal and submitted it to the Health Ministry, but for some reason, there had been a delay in its implementation. He said that it would also prevent quacks and even beauticians posing off as doctors.

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