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Shafi case: complainant women to be examined in Colombo hospitals

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The women who are complaining that they have been rendered infertile by Dr. Siyabdeen Mohamed Shafi of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital are to be examined by expert panels at two hospitals in Colombo.

The Police Media Spokesman Ruwan Gunesekara announced today that these women will be examined at the Castle Street Maternity Hospital and the De Soysa Hospital.

Each hospital will have a three-member expert panel to perform the tests.

Hundreds of women have come forward and lodged complaints at the Kurunegala Hospital saying they were subjected to surgical operations – most often cesarean sections – by Dr. Shafi and have not had children since.

However, when they were called for examinations, the number went down to 71. When Doctors wanted to examine the husbands of the complainants to ensure they are fertile, the number of women has reduced further.

Gunesekara also revealed that CID has obtained a court order forcing hospital director Dr. A.M.S. Weera Bandara to cooperate with their investigation.

Bandara is known to be an activist for the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna. He is being accused of trying to scuttle the probe.

Dr. Shafi is a Senior House Officer at the hospital. He has performed thousands of caesarian sections on women in Kurunegala and Dambulla where he served for some time.

The allegation that Dr. Shafi had rendered “thousands of Sinhala-Buddhist women infertile” was printed in the Divaina newspaper without revealing the source of the story.

Since then the reporters responsible for the story have revealed that their source was Deputy Inspector-General Kithsiri Jayalath, who is in charge of the North Western Province, police sources said.

Several teams of Detectives are probing various aspects of the case. Police are due to report to the Kurunegala Magistrate on June 27 with all their findings.

Medical experts interviewed by RepublicNext found the allegations made by the newspaper implausible.

Professor Hemantha Senanayake head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Colombo University is one of them.

“There are at least three members in the Surgical Team and it is almost impossible that they did not notice if this doctor did what is alleged,” he said.

CID officers have questioned all medical support staff and other doctors who had performed surgery alongside Dr. Shafi and none of them have supported the claim that he sterilized women while carrying out caesarian sections.

Neither the College of Obstetricians nor the Sri Lanka Medical Association has commented on this issue as yet.