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Due to tug of war between docs and nurses 200 patients dead *Docs-nurses battle costs lives of 200 kidney patients

2013 Jul 10

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

 More than 156 life-saving kidney transplant operations had been postponed by the Maligawatte Kidney Transplant Centre since 2010. That was to a dispute between the on-call doctors and the nurses attached to the centre. Approximately 200 patients, who were scheduled to undergo kidney transplants, around the country, had died due to the closure of the center, Public Services United Nursing Union (PSUNU) General Secretary E. Boralessa alleged.

He claimed that due to some personality clashes between consultant vascular surgeons and the on-call doctors the seeds of hostility had germinated at the centre a few years ago. No health authority wanted to intervene to settle the dispute and as a result the kidney transplant unit had come to a standstill. Many patients who were recommended transplants from all corners of the country, lost their lives as they could not get their operations done on time.

He added that a dispute between the doctors and the nurses had caused an enormous problem over there. The doctors complained to the authorities that their rest rooms had been occupied by the nurses by force. The previous Director of the Centre was a lame-duck administrator who lacked drive and initiative. If he had resolved the issues, there would have been no problem, he said.

Boralessa said that 156 lives would have been saved had the surgeons at the center performed the recommended surgeries. The kidneys were vital organs which extract waste matter from the blood. It was called urine. The dysfunction of the organs was a kidney failure that would need transplant.

When contacted, Maligawatte Kidney Transplant Center Director Dr. Sumith Ananda said that after three years the center resumed its operations yesterday. There were 52 patients who would have to undergo transplants. As a rule only one kidney transplant was done per week, because it would take time to examine the compatibility of the blood between the donor and the recipient.

"We never go ahead with random operations. The laboratory investigations on the compatibility of the blood was vital for a successful operation. I am certain that the centre will be able to go ahead with all the recommended surgeries from now onwards as the dispute was amicably settled by Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka,’ Dr. Ananda said.

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