Karapitiya ICUs are sick


By Dasun Edirisinghe

One of three Intensive Care Units of the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital had been closed since last week due to lack of specialised medical officers to work there as annual transfers had been made without replacements, hospital sources alleged yesterday.

The sources said that a part of another ICU too had been closed at the hospital.

Senior consultant attached to the hospital told The Island on condition of anonymity that 43 medical officers were needed to run the Karapitiya Anaesthetist Department in the largest teaching hospital in the Southern Province, but it was run with 23 medical officers.

However, out of the meagre number 13 medical officers had been transferred without replacements, he said.

He said that there were three main ICUs – Accident and Emergency Service, Oncology and normal – in the hospital and the Accident and Emergency Service ICU had been closed since last Wednesday.

Three beds of the Oncology ICU are also closed due to lack of medical officers he said adding however the hospital authorities run the Accident Service ICU as a High Dependency Unit with nurses.

"The hospital informed the closure of the ICU when I was in the middle of a surgery last Wednesday and I was put in a very difficult situation," he said adding that thereafter he arranged a ICU bed from the Matara hospital for the patient, but luckily the patient didn’t have any breathing difficulty after the surgery.

The Consultant said that hospital head re – attached some transferred MOs to the units, but their term also ends in three months and some of them had not been released from their new hospitals.

He said that they had no choice but to refer patients to the National Hospital, but they were being rejected as those facilities were available at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital.

Director of the Hospital Dr. Shelton Perera was not available for immediate comment.

When contacted for comment Health Ministry, spokesman W. M. D. Wanninayake said that there was a problem in the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital due to annual transfers, but it was sorted out now.

The ministry sent MOs as replacements for transfers and all ICUs and theatres function as usual, he said.

Spokesman of the Government Medical Officers’ Association Dr. Naveen de Zoysa said that anyone cannot challenge transfers as it was made by the Public Service Commission.

He said that the ministry introduces a re – attachment system if replacements are late when doctors are transfered this year and the system also function in the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital.

"We contacted the director of the hospital and he said the ICUs function without any disruption," Dr. Zoysa said.

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