Orthopedic surgeries halted as IGMH fails to provide protective gowns

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Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has “temporarily delayed” some orthopedic surgeries after State Trading Organisation (STO) failed to supply lead gowns for medical staff, Deputy CEO Dr Mohamed Habeeb has said today.

He said the only surgeries affected by this would be those that require real-time X-ray monitoring, and that the hospital was expecting to receive the gowns very soon.

The lead gowns, like most other medical supplies for the hospital, are purchased through the STO, said Habeeb. The STO is a public company, with more than ninety two percent shares owned by the government.

“We have ordered replacements even last year. We might get them even by tonight. STO is working on it right now,” said Habeeb.

The purpose of lead gowns is to prevent the unnecessary and frequent exposure of medical staff to radiation which can cause cancer, infertility, and birth defects. While an estimated minimum of ten gowns are usually required for a surgery, the hospital currently has only two fit for use.

An IGMH nurse who often has to assist such surgeries told Minivan News that it has now been more than two years since they started requesting for new gowns. Letters have been written informing all relevant authorities of the situation, she added.

Orthopedic surgeries are done three days a week at the hospital, she explained, and on some days more than six of these surgeries require lead gowns.

“They [the remaining usable gowns] are usually taken by the doctors, saying they are closer to the source. Some staff have panicked after finding out they are pregnant. That risk is always there. And we are concerned about the patients as well. I have never seen any patient being offered a gown here,” she continued.

She stated that when patients need urgent attention, nurses cannot ignore and refuse to attend them even with the risks. Following a decision made by the department today, they will not be attending such surgeries until gowns are provided for them.

Head of the IGMH Orthopedic Department Dr Yoosuf Shan has told ‘Haveeru‘ that a memo highlighting the department’s decision has been sent to the heads of IGMH and the Health Minister.

“Radiation exposure could cause cancer. Most nurses assisting the surgeries are women. Without lead gowns their children could be born with birth defects. So as a precautionary measure we were forced to stop some of surgeries. They will continue only after we received lead gown,” Dr Shan was quoted as saying.

IGMH could not identify the exact reason for the delay in acquiring the gowns and the STO was unable to put Minivan News in touch with the relevant person.

Last November STO stopped supplying medicine to IGMH after it reached a set credit limit. At the time STO managing director Shahid Ali told local media that the Hospital had to pay approximately MVR 200 million to the organisation.

STO later resumed supples after raising the credit limit by MVR5 million in addition to the MVR411 million credit limit which includes payments going back to 2011.

Following the failure of other state owned company’s to pay almost US$40 million in bills owed to the STO, President Abdulla Yameen declared the organisation bankrupt last November. The company subsequently launched a campaign to cut operational costs by MVR50 million in 2014 (US$ 3,242,542).


Indian national commits suicide in police custody, High Commission raises expatriate concerns

Investigations are continuing into the suicide yesterday of a 39 year-old Indian national in police custody, while the Indian High Commission today raised concerns about the treatment of some expatriates in the Maldives.

The deceased, identified by the Indian High Commission as Scariakutty Kalarikkal Yoyakim, was being held in custody on the island of Dhoonidhoo for the alleged assault of another couple with whom he had been living. Yoyakim had been employed by Crown Company and was living in the same property as the couple, as well as his wife, according to the High Commission. He is also thought to have been in the country with his son and brother.

Police Spokesperson Ahmed Haneef told Minivan News that the man was believed to have taken his life yesterday evening at about 6:50pm, though further details were unavailable at present as investigations were continuing.

Haneef said that the man may have used something to tie around his neck that would allow him to commit suicide inside the cell, but would not confirm any details until police concluded their report.

‘’Today at about 1:00pm in the afternoon his body was sent back to his country in compliance with a request from the deceased’s family,’’ he said.

Condolence gathering

The Indian High Commission confirmed that it had held a condolence gathering for Yoyakim at 5:00pm today, with 50 people in attendance. The meeting included prayers as well as a minute’s silence for the deceased, according to organisers.

A spokesperson for the commission told Minivan News that it was unaware of the nature of the man’s suicide, though the Commission understood police investigations into the death were continuing.

When contacted about the incident, Indian High Commissioner Dynaneshwar Mulay was unable to provide any additional details regarding the case. However, he did raise some concerns over the general treatment of Indian expatriates in the Maldives by the country’s police and judiciary.

Mulay claimed that alongside concerns about the treatment of some Indian expatriates in relation to the law, there were significant issues relating to “basic human rights” that needed to be addressed concerning expatriates from countries including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Mulay’s comments follow an attack last week on a Indian resort worker, who was reported to have been attacked with a hammer and mugged while staying in a hotel in Male’.  The attack was allegedly committed by a former employee of the same resort.

The victim, identified by India’s Express News Service as 24 year-old Ramakrishnan Sadanandan from Thiruvananthapuram, was reportedly attacked at 2:30pm on March 31 while staying at a local guest house in the capital.