Haven’t the doctors belonging to the GMOA anything else better to do than solely think of SAITM? In these last two months they have been acting weird. They seem to think, breathe, eat, drink and do nothing else but brood over SAITM as if possessed by some devil who has cast an evil spell on [...]


Time to treat GMOA brass for acute SAITM paranoia


Haven’t the doctors belonging to the GMOA anything else better to do than solely think of SAITM?
In these last two months they have been acting weird. They seem to think, breathe, eat, drink and do nothing else but brood over SAITM as if possessed by some devil who has cast an evil spell on them and led them astray from the noble, humane ideals of their profession; who has made them transgress their sacred Hippocratic Oath as physicians; and warped their minds and chilled their hearts towards another’s pain and suffering when struck down by ill health; who has forced them, these once honoured saviours of humanity from death’s door, to not only neglect but to willfully abandon their supreme duty of care to the sick and the dying and, without remorse, without compunction, to cast their flocks’ fate to the wolves, expose the flickering flame of their lives to the elements, to the gusty winds that blow.

BLACK FRIDAY: The solitary forlorn wait for medical attention takes its toll and leaves the sick more ill as doctors turn the needle after stabbing the sore

Like the children of Hamlin who followed the Pied Piper to their unknown destination of doom, a gadding herd of 17,000 GMOA doctors, once men and women of great intelligence, renown souls of compassion and pity, great beings dedicated to that noble calling to heal the sick, now appear to be blindly following the call of some evil wizard as he blows his pipe and takes them on some winding road to god knows where.

And as they trot in line like sheep, following the wizard’s mournful whistled tune, the poor, the lame, the sick, the dying reach out their shivering palms toward them imploring them for treatment from their god given healing hands and public funded medical education but to no avail. The wizard’s whistle has taken complete command and they, transfixed to the mystic summons, pass them by without a single turn of head or any flicker of feeling.

They don’t see -or refuse to see – the wretchedness of poverty diseased. They don’t hear – or refuse to hear – the anguished wail for help from those not blessed with resources to seek treatment from some of this self same band of doctors who moonlight at private hospitals.

They don’t feel, as they once did, the instinctive natural surge of compassion to the plight of the Les Miserable but now, with eyes gone blind, with ears turned deaf, with hearts grown cold turned stony, they plod on, in a trance, mesmerized and impervious to all the eye can see, the ear can hear and the heart can feel, following the Mephistophelian call to gather more scalps to achieve their goal; their minds fixed on one singular purpose only: to drive a stake into the very heart of the SAITM vampire who they fervently believe, has risen from some private crypt to suck the life blood from members of their exclusive medical association.

And ever since January 31st, the day the Court of Appeal ordered the Sri Lanka Medical Council to register SAITM qualified medical graduates as doctors, they have been in this strange stupor.

The GMOA top brass has developed a pathological fixation – and it has spread down the rank and file – over this private institute established in 2010 under the auspices of the then President Rajapaksa who even gave ten scholarships for deserving students to proceed with their medical education thereat.

On the 1st of February, their natures, their characters, their passions, their feelings, their ethics, their mindsets all underwent a metamorphosis. From the publicly venerated and admired butterflies they were, flitting from hospital bed to hospital bed infusing life reviving honey to patient after patient, they retrograded to become once more worms cocooned in a world of their own on some leaf of a Moneragala mulberry tree.

Once they were the pillars of society. A doctor in the house was an honoured guest at any party. They were known not only as law abiding citizens who respected the judgments of the courts but were also famed for their moral rectitude. But on February 1st all the goodwill, all the respect their medical forefathers had earned for them, were flung to the winds; and they took leave of their senses.

They decided to declare their dissatisfaction against the Appeal Court’s decision not by resorting to the judicial process and appealing to the Supreme Court but by taking to the streets. The medical students – the sacrificial pawns in the battle plan – formed the advance guard of the convoy of protests to come and took to the streets, becoming the harbinger of a nation’s misery on February 2nd.

It was nothing short of an extra judicial exercise to coerce courts to rubber stamp their views. The ultimate affront and threat to law and order and to the majesty of the courts. And it could have attracted contempt of court charges. But none came. To the GMOA it would have been a test run. To test the water with expendable students before the elders waded in.

Fortified by the lack of contempt charges for having staged a street protest not even a mile away from the Hulftsdorp court complex, the GMOA took to the streets the following day, February 3rd, ostensibly protesting against the police reaction to the students demo when they attempted to storm the barricades erected by the police to prevent them entering the road to the Presidential Secretariat.

To keep the boom of battle echoing the students of all medical colleges in Lanka started boycotting lectures and have done so up to now. Like Prabhakaran had no qualms in using child soldiers to win his battle for Eelam, the GMOA high command had no compunction in encouraging medical students to boycott their classes in their goal to destroy SAITM and re-establish the publicly funded government’s medical college as the only Eelam future doctors could graduate from. Of course the fact that the Medical Council already accepts registration of medical graduates from foreign medical colleges was conveniently waffled off. Foreign is foreign after all, the main fight is against one’s own, isn’t that so in Lanka?

Then after two further weeks of railing the Government, railing the Health Minister, railing all and sundry who held a different view, while all the time hailing themselves as the guardians of the nation’s health, the GMOA top brass couldn’t wake or sleep, breakfast, lunch or dine, think or talk without SAITM on its mind and SAITM on its lips. SAITM was the enemy and there would be no rest until it was flayed and its flesh fed to caged vultures at Maligawatte, where Lanka’s Parsi community once used to dispose their dead.

This obsession led them to inflict pain and misery, dose by dose throughout the nation. On February 20th the GMOA started its mobile misery clinic of strike action, province by province. Dr. Death was to cast its shadow upon each and every province, stage by stage and deny medical treatment to the people of those areas in order to force the Government, manacled by the Court of Appeal’s order, to overturn the Court of Appeal judgment by hook or by crook and burn down SAITM and have its ashes scattered at sea.
The fact that this was to demand of the Government to resort to extra judicial measures did not dawn on the GMOA. And it was not surprising. So personally embroiled were the GMOA brass in the SAITM issue that they had lost their reason; and the power of objective judgment had long fled from the spheres of their twisted minds.

But the GMOA nevertheless pursued its itinerary of pain and anguish to Lanka’s disease hit poor. The UVA province got the first dose on February 20th. On the 21st it was the turn of the South. On the 23rd it was the East and the North Central. On the 27th it was the North West and the Central Province. The caravan moved to Sabaragamuwa on March 1st followed by the GMOA’s Mara Devil arriving in Jaffna on the 2nd. And on March 3rd the GMOA’s misery train hit the buffers at the Western station. All nine provinces covered.

Many tears shed and much blood drawn. But where the spoils of victory? None. Except a whole carriage load of public opprobrium and revulsion. But, as another symptom of their descent to madness, the GMOA announced that their misery campaign ‘had the support of the patients. ‘ As the SUNDAY PUNCH commented on March 19th, “Only those with a death wish and those yearning for euthanasia, waiting hopefully for a quick exit medical neglect would bring, would have echoed those sentiments. “

And then the SAITM obsessed GMOA took a breather. But it only took it to pump itself with more anti SAITM air and spent the hours planning out the gala 24 hour nationwide doctors’ strike. The GMOA’s sadistic capacity to inflict pain on others seems endless and betters Count de Sade’s; and their fixation with SAITM so deeply rooted in their psychic that it must give rise to alarm.
First they have declared this whole week as ‘Anti SAITM’ week. It was sort of morbid way to prepare the nation that Black Friday the 7th, the day they would hold their 24 hour nationwide strike, may bring tragedy. Not tragedies caused by natural disasters, not tragedies caused by accidents, but manmade tragedies, willfully designed and executed by the nation’s doctors that may possibly result in the death of some of its innocent civilians who unfortunately happen to be ill or fall ill during this period.

Isn’t it the doctors themselves who advise all who come to them even with simple influenza not to dilly dally but get immediate tests done and get on medication or else the condition may worsen and even lead to death? If that is valid advice they must also admit that denial of medical treatment even for a day can worsen the condition, even beyond hope.

Thus is there any difference between GMOA doctors denying the nation 24 hours of medical treatment to the ill merely to make a point of protest against their pet SAITM gripe and ISIS terrorists exploding a car bomb on a busy street in the name of creating an Islamic state?

Both may have done it as symbolic gestures of protest in order to give publicity to their respective causes and both may not have wished civilian deaths to happen as a result. But the unfortunate who happen to fall ill and is turned away from the doctor’s door and the innocent passerby near the bomb loaded car at the time of explosion will turn out to be the victims. Both the GMOA and ISIS can say it was not their intention. But does the possibility of human tragedy, whatever the motive absolve either of guilt? In the ISIS case, the dead bodies of civilians blown up by the exploding bomb provide direct evidence. In the GMOA strike, the number of patients who die at home or at hospital due to lack of immediate treatment will never be known; and a victim’s death will probably be recorded as due to heart attack or some such illness or natural causes and never as ‘ due to medical negligence occasioned by the doctor’s strike’ by the GMOA doctor who certifies cause of death in the patient’s death certificate.

Even before the sun went down on the 24 hour strike that was to end at 8am on Saturday morning, the government caved in and announced that it would take over the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital. But, despite the surrender, the GMOA stuck to their guns. Last morning, GMOA Media Spokesman Dr. Samantha Ananda said that they would only be able to make a statement on the decisions once they receive them officially by the ministry. He added however that what they were demanding was a solution to SAITM and not to Neville’s Teaching Hospital. The obsession with SAITM continues. Nothing short of its neck will do.

The future fate of SAITM may have been resolved or at least may soon be resolved. But one underlying worry for the entire nation must persist. What made the GMOA top brass so gripped with SAITM that it made them totally absorbed with it and no other? What held them spellbound to SAITM, what made their hatred toward it so maliciously intense that no other thought, feeling or emotion could dare sneak in to their conscious and demand a moment’s attention? What made them carry on such a concerted campaign of encapsulated hate for over two months, what made it marshal its troops to follow suit without question, what made it ignore the public repugnance and curses that attended every step of their march against their perceived enemy SAITM? What made their thoughts, their dreams, their speech, their actions SAITM, SAITM, SAITM 24/7 and nothing else?

What made them hold fear of persecution which they constantly expressed when they argued that the right of SAITM to produce doctors would be a threat to the closely guarded medical citadel? What created unwarranted envy at the thought of private medical degrees paid for by parents being recognised on equal terms as public funded degrees? What made them display an exaggerated sense of self importance in themselves when they arrogated the right to decide the eligibility of medical graduates to be registered as doctors by the Sri Lanka Medical Council when it is not their province to so decide but the exclusive right of the Sri Lanka Medical Council? What made them bear irrational thoughts and beliefs and be so fixated in their opinion that even when the contrary was shown to them, they could naught but stand cemented to their own bigoted view and shunned all else as blasphemy?
All the above symptoms lead only to one diagnosis. Medical science calls it Paranoia.

It is not a phobia. Paranoia is a Greek word and though it may sound Greek to us, the simple English meaning is ‘madness’. And according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, it comes in three forms:

PARANOID PERSONALITY DISORDER: Paranoid individuals are eager observers. They think they are in danger and look for signs and threats of that danger, potentially not appreciating other evidence. According to the World Health Organization, it is characterized by excessive sensitivity to setbacks and rebuffs; a tendency to bear grudges persistently, i.e. refusal to forgive insults and injuries or slights; a combative and tenacious sense of personal rights out of keeping with the actual situation; a tendency to experience excessive self-importance, manifest in a persistent self-referential attitude among others.

PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIA: According to the Mayo Clinic, this is having a delusion in an unshakeable belief that is held strong even when the evidence shows otherwise and it includes, for example, “believing that the government is monitoring every move you make, or that a co-worker is poisoning your lunch.” Schizophrenia is in itself a involuntary tendency to seamlessly change into a different character, in the way the GMOA sometimes think they are a body of doctors walking the wards and checking the well being of their patients and at other times assume the role of a political party with its members marching the streets, holding placards, shouting slogans and holding rallies.

PERSECUTORY DELUSIONS: This is a set of delusional conditions in which the affected persons believes they are being persecuted. In ‘The Psychology of Persecutory Delusions’, this is described as when a person thinks that harm is occurring, or is going to occur that the individual thinks that the perceived persecutor has the intention to cause harm.

Considering the above, is it not apparent – even to laymen – and considering the fear of persecution, the degree of envy the exaggerated self importance that have surrounded the GMOA in their singular fixation over SAITM and the degree to which they have gone to and level to which they have stooped – even making the Vets join the strike and deny sick dogs their treatment- that perhaps some of them may be suffering from an advanced state of paranoia? Frightening, isn’t it to think when we next go to visit a doctor – god forbid – that we may be receiving the panacea pills from such a nut case off his rocker?

If prima facie proof is necessary that something has snapped and their thinking has gone wonky, just consider the statement made by the GMOA that their campaign of strike action which denied medical treatment to all Lankans and put at risk their lives, were done to “protect the patient’s right to life.”

CEB power strike fails to sizzle drought heat to higher degreesBut government must take it as wakeup call before total eclipseEnough that Lanka is reeling under a record breaking drought and the people are suffering from intolerable degrees in the temperature. Enough that on the 5th of this month the sun stood directly over Lanka aggravating the steamy heat felt by all on the ground.But if that was the time most apt time to unleash upon the masses a most excruciating heat wave, the JVP backed unions at the Ceylon Electricity Board, could have picked no better day than to go on a 24 hour nationwide strike from Wednesday the 5th midnight to Thursday midnight to coerce the government to agree to their salary demands.

Thanks to a few unions in the 24,000 work force at the CEB, notably the powerful engineers union, the strike fizzled out and failed to reach the torrid degrees the JVP had planned to achieve. The unions’ threat not to attend to any breakdown had no effect since only a few minor breakdowns were reported and immediately attended to by CEB’s non striking members. To them the public owe their thanks.

But, it must be said that even those other CEB unions who struck work, were not motivated solely by a perverse intention to subject the people to a sweaty experience and eclipse their light for twenty four hours. They did not put lives at risk but only highlighting their plight.

Neither were they protesting over a court judgment that had gone against their interest. Nor were they marching on the streets demanding their grievances be met. And though in many government eyes, their strike may have flopped, it brought the injustice done unto them for so long to light; and served as a wakeup call to the authorities to finally address their issues and grant whatever redress possible rather than shabbily twiddle their thumbs, procrastinating its attention and pulling the fuse from their justified demands.

And what is their grievance that made them resort to the take this extreme measure?
The main objective of the strike was to rectify the current salary anomaly within the CEB. Before 2012, the standard salary difference between the management level and lower level employees was kept at 4:1 and was accepted by all that any salary increase would be made based on this rate. No problem with that. All happy. But in 2012, during the Rajapaksa regime, this ration was changed to 5:1.

As the Ceylon Electricity Employees Union Secretary Ranjan Jayalal told newspapers on Tuesday, “The then Government agreed to rectify this by increasing salaries of all employees by 30 percent in 2014. CEB top management officials’ salaries were increased during the last Presidential Election so the politicians could distribute light posts and other CEB properties during the election. When we raised the issue, they agreed to increase the salaries of all employees.”

‘Today, “Jayalal said, “management level employees enjoy a salary hike between 70-120 percent while other employee’s salary had only been increased by 30 percent following two discreet gazettes issued on last presidential Election Day. “

According to the CEB employees union’s secretary, ‘the CEB management had asked for one year to rectify the salary anomalies when they threatened trade union action in 2015, but they had failed to honour the promise. Once again we threatened trade union action in October last year, but it was also postponed as management promised us to resolve the problem within four months.”

Since then they have held talks with Ministers Champika Ranawaka and Ranjith Siyambalapitiya but, according to Jayalal, it had been to no avail. As a result of the ministers’ failure to address their grievances, the CEB unions had been forced to resort to the strike weapon to shake and wake the government to action.

Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has now said he would resolve the problem by August. He has said he had appointed a committee to investigate the salary anomalies issue of CEB workers. He has said “I will go with the recommendations of the committee to rectify the salary anomalies,”

It is hoped that Siyambalapitiya will keep his pledge. For if Wednesday midnight’s wakeup call is ignored and the ministers continue their sleep, it will be the turn of the public to feel the mercury rising in anger.
For a government is elected to solve the existing problems. Not merely to say it inherited it and absolve itself of its responsibility and pass the buck back to the past.


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