Negligent doctor transferred
By Apsara Kapukotuwa and Hiran Priyankara Jayasinghe
An MBBS doctor, who is been investigated with regard to medical negligence in Pallama, Puttalam district, has been transferred from Friday to the Tabbowa hospital.

The doctor in question has reportedly given an injection meant for treatment of arthritis in adults, to children suffering from asthma below the age of 6 years.

A five-year-old patient who was admitted to the Chilaw Base hospital for treatment for muscle degeneration led to hospital authorities recalling another patient (4 years old), with a similar complaint, who had been admitted two months earlier. The attending medical practitioner in both instances was found to be a doctor, attached to the Pallama dispensary with a private practice in the same area. The muscle degeneration was determined to be due to the injecting of steroids that are usually given to adults with rheumatoid arthritis to ease symptoms.

This particular steroid is not recommended for use on children below the age of 6. The muscle deterioration that was caused is said to be irreversible. According to Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. R.M.S.K. Ratnayake the three children had been positively identified as having been injected with 'kenocole-A', an injection not approved for treatment in Sri Lanka. However, the accused doctor had stated in his defence that medical literature states this drug used for treatment of arthritis in adults, could be used for the treatment of asthma as well.

"We have now positively identified three children who had been injected with this drug and are now showing side effects. Many more children have been brought to the hospital by parents for investigation due to the awareness created by the media.

A consultant Judicial Medical Officer has been appointed to look into the matter and an in-depth investigation will take place with the assistance of the grama niladharis of the nearby villages to trace possible victims," Dr. Ratnayake said.

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