Sri Lanka hospitals overwhelmed by wounded civilians: MSF

Minister appoints Dr Swaminathan to IPACSL as Chairperson

April 25, 2009 (AFP) – The flood of wounded civilians from the conflict in Sri Lanka is overwhelming doctors and nurses in hospitals near the war zone who said Saturday people risk dying from lack of proper attention. A British surgeon working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Paul McMasters, said his team in the state-run hospital in Vavuniya had performed 71 operations in one recent 24-hour period.

In an MSF statement, McMasters said the hospital was struggling to provide adequate post-operative care.

“One of the patients I have seen is a little girl of about seven or eight who has a severe leg injury. Her elder sister is in the same bed with wounds on her arms and legs,” McMasters said.

“Their sister has burns to her face. Their mother has been killed and their father is in intensive care. With the level of aftercare that we can provide at the moment, he has a fifty-fifty chance of making it, at best.”

“It’s so crowded that the nurses cannot physically walk around the ward,” he said, estimating the number of patients in a 45-bed ward at around 320.

“There are simply too many people to treat them all. We are not able to save some people because we need to provide more aftercare,”