tragic death: Faulty lift system the cause
By Apsara Kapukotuwa
A faulty and aged elevator system maybe the main
cause of the unfortunate death of a doctor attached to the Warakapola
Hospital. The dire need for the overhauling of elevators in all
the hospitals is apparent. However, last Monday's incident was the
first recorded death.
K.D.J. Kuruppu, a Registered Medical Officer attached to the OPD
died last Monday in an unfortunate accident. The 53-year-old father-of-three
was one of the first on the scene when the islandwide power failure
last Monday evening resulted in a hospital labourer getting stuck
in a lift while returning with a wheel chair after dropping off
a patient in a ward.
DMO at the hospital Dr. Nihal Wijepala was one of the people who
saw Dr. Kuruppu attempting to get the labourer out of the lift.
"I was going down the stairs when I saw Dr. Kuruppu. I spoke
to him and he was adamant that we had one of the most sturdy lift
systems. The record should be straight on what exactly happened
as there has been a lot of misreporting in the press," Dr.
to the DMO, the two elevators at the hospital are used alternatively
and Dr. Kuruppu knew their mechanisms well. It is therefore a mystery
as to how he fell down the shaft of the second elevator which was
not in use.
heard people shouting that Dr. Kuruppu had fallen into the lift
shaft. The mechanism of the lifts is such that if the lift is not
there, the door to the shaft won't open. As there was a power failure
it was very dark. He fell head first. It was an instantaneous death,"
Dr. Wijepala said.
doctor at the hospital, Dr. Damith Leelaratne, said "One moment
I see him near the second lift door and a second later, he had fallen
into the lift shaft. Obviously there is a defect in the mechanism.
The lift door was not locked as it should have been because he did
not use any force."
DMO said the Ceylon Electricity Board has subcontracted the maintenance
of the elevators, which is done 'once every 2 weeks or so'. However,
the irony is that the labourer was in no immediate danger of suffocation,
'not even remotely in danger' as Dr. Wijepala put it.
and Ragama Hospitals were reportedly some of the other hospitals
which have faced similar incidents in the past. Kegalle Medical
Superintendent Dr. S.A.K. Gamage said a similar incident occurred
there before his tenure.
Hospital Director Dr. R.M.M. Rajamanthri was not satisfied with
the situation at his hospital. “The lift has not been repaired
even though we have paid Rs. 80,000. I hope something is done very
soon,” he said