hole in heart list
GMOA’s battle for cardiologists
By Apsara Kapukotuwa
The failure to give suitable appointments to three heart surgeons,
who have returned from abroad is denying the country the opportunity
of reducing the long wait of patients for heart operations, the
Government Medical Officers Association said.
GMOA said heart surgeons often preferred to practice abroad due
to poor salaries and lack of proper facilities here. As a result
even children with heart defects were forced to wait 6-8 years for
secretary Anurudhdha Padeniya said it seemed that Sri Lanka had
no option but to continue to collect names on a waiting list that
extended upto 2013.
is due to the usual occurrence of congenital heart defects in eight
in every thousand babies born. Six of these are correctible by surgery
and is commonly known as hole in the heart. The cost of sending
some of these patients abroad, even with funding from the Presidents'
Fund is generally between one hundred thousand and three hundred
thousand rupees," he said. According to Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya,
the long term cost of looking after a patient who goes into pulmonary
hypertension due to the lack of early surgery is often more than
the cost of the surgery itself.
reasons for the delay in operating those with heart defects are
surprisingly few and look relatively easy to solve. Sri Lanka has
six heart surgeons of whom two are attached to the private sector.
The others are attached to the Colombo National Hospital and the
Galle Karapitiya Hospital.
though the Kandy General Hospital has built three comprehensive
heart surgery units, with the aid of hadhawath mithuro under the
guidance of Dr. A.L.M. Beligaswatte five years ago, no surgeon has
yet been appointed to take over its duties. The technical facilities
provided therein are sufficient for three surgeon cardiologists
to operate without hindrance.
need to establish and reinforce cardiothorasic surgery in the country
has long been the battle cry of the GMOA. Three years ago, the GMOA
presented a National Strategy Plan on how to combat this issue-to
date, they state, no move has been taken regarding it.