BMICH has no funds to pay compensation to Samitha


by Randima Attygalle

The BMICH, which was ordered to pay Rs. 180 million as compensation by the Colombo District Court on Friday, says the institution is cash strapped and funds will have to be raised from elsewhere to pay Dr. Samitha Samanmali.

"With an annual turnover of Rs. 200 million, we will have to borrow money to pay the compensation awarded by court", says Mallika Karunaratne, BMICH’s Director-General.

She said that when she received the court order, it will be submitted to the BMICH Board of Management for perusal. The Board will convene after its Head, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga returns to the country.

Speaking to The Sunday Island, Samitha said that she is satisfied with the court order despite her original claim of Rs. 500 million as compensation. "What I lost cannot be monetarily compensated, nevertheless I’m satisfied," she said, extending her sincere thanks to her legal team comprising Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, J. Arupragasam and Nilantaha Kumarage.

Samanmali became paralyzed when a shelter put up for Deyata Kirula Exhibition 2008, collapsed on her just a day before her 25th birthday. Then a third-year medical student, Samitha ran to a steel tent put up for the exhibition, seeking shelter from the pouring rain.

The structure of the shelter collapsed and an iron bar which hit her head damaged her spinal cord leaving her lower body paralyzed for life. Miraculously she escaped brain damage.

Having gone through a stem cell transplant in China and a month’s rehabilitation program in Singapore, Samitha returned home to complete her medical degree with her own batch mates.

She is now serving the Health Education Bureau and is presently reading for her postgraduate qualification in Community Medicine.

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