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 Post subject: Ooooops sorry!... Wrong leg amputated by mistake in Negombo
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 2:16 am 
Criminal negligence hushed up
Poor woman's leg amputated by mistake at Negombo hospital

23APR2005 / DM

The healthy leg of a 48-year-old woman was mistakenly amputated at the Negombo General Hospital and the authorities are trying to cover up what is clearly an act of criminal negligence, the Asian Human Rights Commission charged yesterday.

In a statement the AHRC said no inquiry had still been conducted and no statement made to the police. It urged the government to order an immediate probe.

It said the woman Sithy Nazeera was the only breadwinner of her family as her husband was sick. She supported her children by selling eatables. But now she worries that she might be a burden for her family.

While calling on the government to take criminal action against those responsible, the AHRC has also urged that immediate assistance be given to the family.

It said the victim's healthy limb was amputated due to a mistaken identity.

The story as told by Sithy Nazeera from her hospital bed is as follows:

"I had a wound in the sole of my foot and went to see a doctor to get treatment. He gave a letter saying to go to the hospital and get the wound treated. Even then I told the doctor I was afraid. Then the doctor said, "don't be afraid, this is only for cleaning the wound." After that they would put medicine and cure it.

“The first time I went to the Negombo General Hospital was on February 27. On that day my wound was cleaned and some medicine applied. Then I went again on March 1 and was taken to the operating theatre.

“There, I was told they would inject something in my spine and after the injection they would clean the wound and send me off.

“After about half an hour those people were chatting and laughing. Later somebody came and gave me the injection.

“Though my leg was numb there was nothing wrong with my ears. Somebody taped on my leg and I heard someone say there was one to clean the wound and another to be amputated. By then they had amputated my leg. My eyes were bandaged and I just pulled it off. I thought that my leg had been cut off and I shouted saying that I came to get my wound cleaned and the person waiting for the amputation was waiting outside. I am told now that once they finished the work in the theatre they have to get me to sign. That is why they told me like that.

“Hearing my shouts a doctor in the ward came running. He told me not to shout. He told me, you don't know anything. He said he was inside the theatre. After that, he did not send me back to the ward. He kept me later than 6:30 p.m. By then the visitors had to leave. That was why he kept me out of the ward until people who had come to see me left. I told the doctor that my children were waiting outside then he told me no, nobody has come. By then I was fully conscious. I questioned them as to why they were keeping me inside.

”Later my husband had asked this doctor why I had not been brought back to the ward since I was taken at 2:30 p.m. and by then it was past 6:30 p.m. It was only then that this doctor asked forgiveness from my husband saying that my leg has been amputated.

“I cannot suffer like this. I cannot even go to the toilet. I don't want to be a problem for my children. I don't want to go home, just give me some poison, I told the doctor and everybody.

”It is by selling eatables that I live. As my husband got ill when my children were young it was by my work that I brought up my children. I brought them up like that even until I was able to give daughters in marriage."

The AHRC statement said:

"In any hospital there will be measures to ensure the identity
Medical negligence...

of persons before they are taken to the operating theatre. In such serious operations as amputations there will be strict procedures and consultations to be followed.

“None of these have been done in this case. Now Nazeera is under pressure by those who want to hush up the case. As she is a poor woman, the pressure on her would be very high.

“Had this happened to anybody from more influential sectors of society by now, there would have been an uproar".

 Post subject: Mistaken amputation: Ministry to take stern action
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:16 am 
Mistaken amputation: Ministry to take stern action

DM/ 25APR2005
By Sajeewan Wijewardana

The Health Ministry yesterday vowed to punish the relevant officials if the allegation was proved true of a woman losing her leg due to an amputation resulting out of a mistaken identity at the Negombo General Hospital.

Acting Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilake said, "I'm not aware of the incident, but I will give top priority to this report and send an officer, the first thing tomorrow. If I find that the allegation is true, we will initiate disciplinary action against all concerned officials at the hospital".

Dr. Jayatilake, who is also the Health Ministry Additional Secretary said though the Negombo Hospital fell under the purview of the Western Provincial Council Health Ministry, the Central Government would intervene.

A Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) source said that they were not aware of the incident as no one had made a written complaint to them, and added that the SLMC could not take action on press reports. He said the SLMC would inquire if there was a written complaint in the form of an affidavit. The source explaining the procedure said written consent of the patient was a must in a serious operation such as an amputation.

A GMOA source meanwhile said that in some cases, the patient might not be in a position to decide what's best for him or her, and a final decision would have to be taken by the consultant.

"I cannot understand how this occurred. There are so many procedures and checkpoints to pass before a surgery is done. This is a highly unlikely incident," he said.

 Post subject: Another attempt to cover up mistaken amputation
 Post Posted: Sat May 07, 2005 2:43 pm 
Another attempt to cover up mistaken amputation

DM/ 06MAY2005

Some alleged agents of the Negombo hospital which was responsible for the amputation of the leg of Sithy Naseera on mistaken identity have tired to fraudulently obtain a declaration from her apparently to escape liability, the Asian Human Rights Commission said yesterday in a shocking new development in this case of criminal negligence.

Following is a direct translation of this document which was brought through an agent to which they wanted Ms. Naseera to sign.

She refused but however managed to obtain a copy.

The document said:

"I am suffering from diabetes. I went to the Negombo hospital to get treatment as my illness aggravated and the wound emerged on my left leg and I was admitted to the hospital. The illness could have become fatal and the doctors of the Negombo General Hospital worked to save my life by amputating my leg below the knee. If my leg was not amputated from below the knee at the right time, I may have died.

I did not have any objection to the amputation of my left leg and I expressed my consent verbally. Since the operation my health has improved. Thus I state my consent for the amputation of my leg and I am making this statement of my own free will.

Yours faithfully "

The blank space was left for Sithy Naseera to sign but she did not sign it.

The AHRC said some hospital officials were allegedly engaging in deception and trying desperately to get the victim of this tremendous injustice herself to give a statement to save them.

"This behaviour needs to be condemned and exposed," the AHRC said.

Earlier this week, the AHRC, the Rule of Law Human Rights centre and the People's Movement for the Rights of Patients petitioned Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva asking for a full probe and payment of compensation to the victim.

They have sent to the minister an affidavit from Ms. Naseera explaining what happened.

Meanwhile, several benefactors and well wishers have come forward to help Ms. Naseera offering her an artificial foot and other assistance.

 Post subject: Sithy Nazeera tells her story in affidavit
 Post Posted: Tue May 10, 2005 11:43 am 
Sithy Nazeera tells her story in affidavit


The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has renewed its appeal regarding the case of Sithy Nazeera who suffered the amputation of a healthy limb after the hospital surgical staff failed to correctly ascertain her identity.

Despite the matter receiving widespread publicity, no inquiries into this incident have yet been conducted by the police on the basis of criminal negligence or by the Health Ministry or any other Medical Authority on the basis of the negligence of doctors and the hospital staff.

Meanwhile, the victim has submitted an affidavit to the Health Minister, the Inspector General of Police and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, stating the circumstances in which her leg was amputated.

Sithy has also made a written complaint to the officer-in-charge of the Negombo Police and the Senior Superintendent of that station. However, despite these formal complaints being made, neither of the authorities had yet conducted an inquiry nor even visited her to record her statement. Sithy is in no position to walk due to the amputation. She is also still living in a state of shock due to this incident.

In the meantime, two doctors and a police sub inspector attached to the Negombo Police Station had visited Sithy's house twice and allegedly stated that if she signs a document they were willing to pay her Rs. 200,000, which she has refused. Thereafter, a broker has brought a document written in English, a language she does not understand, asking her to sign it stating that if she does so the hospital was willing to give her some compensation. This too, Sithy has refused to sign. Thus, the only action that has been taken is to bring about pressure on the victim to give up her complaint.

In addition, a voluntary organisation helping the victim and a local provincial newspaper have been approached by some doctors trying to discourage them from assisting the victim. The message from the Negombo Hospital authorities had been that if the doctors were criticised for some 'small mistake', they would be discouraged from doing their duties. Such pressure is perceived as an attempt to isolate the victim, who is poor and weak, and thus persuade her to withdraw her complaints.

Sithy Nazeera in her affidavit states:
I, Sithy Nazeera, residing at No. 93/10 A, Meerigama Road, Negombo, Islam by religion, honestly, truthfully and respectfully state the following:

1. a. That I am the above mentioned affirmant.

b. That I am 42 years old, married and a mother of six children and for 16 years I have been selling food items prepared by myself.

c. I am a Sri Lankan citizen.

2. On a day in February 2005, I went to the clinic run by Dr. Zeeyar, which is located quite close to my residence, to get treatment for a boil on the sole of my left foot.

3. Dr. Zeeyar then explained to me that the boil on the foot needed to be operated upon and dressed and on his recommendation with a letter from him, I got myself admitted to ward No. 5 in the hospital as an outdoor patient on February 21.

4. The following day, February 22 the boil was cleaned and treated, and again on February 26 it was cleaned and dressed.

5. Then on 1 March 2005, at about 9.30 in the morning, I was taken to the operating theatre for the cleaning of the wound.

There I was examined and told that I was too weak and was taken to the ward for administering of "saline" after which at about 2:30 in the afternoon I was taken back to the operating theatre.

6. As I appeared frightened to enter the theatre, my eyes were closed and I was told that there is nothing to fear; as soon as the wound was cleaned and dressed I would be allowed to go out.

7. Subsequently I was given an injection to make me unconscious and I felt the slow loss of consciousness.

8. As I slowly regained my consciousness a doctor from the operating room, while examining a record book asked me whether I came to get my leg amputated or to get it cleaned. I, then became quite alarmed, and while telling him that I came to get it cleaned I raised myself a little to discover that my left foot had been cut off below the knee.

9. When I saw the amputated leg I could not believe it and quite spontaneously I screamed. Due to my shouting everyone in the theatre rushed to where I was with great fear, and the doctor in charge of the ward who arrived there asked me not to shout. He said that a mistake had taken place and that they would provide me with a leg, I shouted saying that I do not need a leg and do not want to live and would prefer some poison instead.

The person who needed the amputation is someone else and why did you cut my leg, I then asked in deep pain.

10. That day from 2:30 to late evening I was kept in the theatre and due to my repeated requests and the presence of the relatives who had come to visit me I was taken to the ward at 6.45 in the evening.

11. My husband then appeared and when he made inquiries from the doctor in charge of ward No. 5, about the delay in treatment he was told that there was a big mistake, mistakenly my leg was amputated and that they are sorry for that.

12. I came to know that due to a mix up in the documents my leg was amputated instead of the person who was waiting with me in the operating theatre.

13. I wish to state that there was no need for my leg to be amputated, nor was I advised by any of the doctors that I was to have my leg amputated, nor was the permission obtained from me or from my husband, I.L.M. Yusuf, until now for the amputation.

14. Since the manner in which the amputation was done was very unusual, it became necessary to have another operation to cut off a part from the edge of the bone of the leg.

Besides, the doctors are of the opinion that since the skin has not been joined, there is the need to have another operation.

15. As I do not like to have my third operation under these circumstances in the Negombo hospital, I would request that it be done either at the Colombo National Hospital or at the teaching hospital in Ragama.

16. I hereby request that the crime committed against me due to the negligence of the personnel attached to the 'operating unit' of the Base Hospital in Negombo be impartially investigated, all the necessary medical assistance be provided until I recover completely, all those responsible for this grave injustice be prosecuted according to the law, and that arrangements be made to amply compensate me for the irreparable damage done to me.

17. I wish to affirm and state that all that is reported above is true.

 Post Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:25 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:17 am
Posts: 1
I have just become aware of this lady's tragic situation.

Does anyone have an update on what has happened to her (and her family) since May of 2005?

Many thanks,

Roger Barrow

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