Brilliant doctors at Chilaw Hospital | Sunday Observer

Brilliant doctors at Chilaw Hospital

25 September, 2022

On March 20, around 11 p.m., a doctor from the Galmuruwa Hospital placed an urgent call to a colleague at the Chilaw District General Hospital. Identifying himself, the doctor conveyed that the health condition of a pregnant patient admitted to the hospital was deteriorating and will be required to be transferred immediately.

The message was conveyed to the director of the Chilaw District General Hospital and other staff. Despite the late hour, many doctors began to arrive at the hospital in haste including gynaecologists, neo-natal specialists, anaesthesiologists and cardiologists.

Cardiac functions were faltering

The time was 11.24 p.m. when the ambulance bringing in the patient arrived at the hospital. The woman now in a critical state was admitted to the primary care unit. Already her cardiac functions were faltering.

The doctors then in a matter of three minutes made the quick decision to take her to the operating theatre as her condition had worsened.

The woman now in a critical state was a pregnant mother of eight months. Due to her grave condition, the doctors decided the best course of action now would be to deliver the child through a caesarian section. All preparations were made to carry out the surgery under the guidance of specialist Dr. Gayan de Silva.

But unexpectedly, the patient’s heart suddenly stopped beating and the medical team was forced to immediately swing into action to get her heart going once more.

At the same time, another team of doctors worked on delivering the child through a caesarean section immediately. The near impossible feat was carried out successfully to the relief of all of those at the theatre.

According to Chilaw hospital director Dr. Kapila Mallawarachchi, all preparations were made when the transfer of the patient was informed over the phone. “The patient was brought in at 11.24 p.m. She was in a critical state and a decision was made to carry out a caesarean on her to deliver the child.

Best course of action

Usually, an infant must at least be between 36 - 40 weeks old for delivery. Due to the mother’s condition, we decided to deliver the baby pre-mature would be the best course of action” he said. “However, her heart gave out and stopped beating. This was a major challenge. But our team stepped up and every member of staff supported us to carry out the surgery. We decided to artificially pump her heart while the surgery is being conducted” he added.

The caesarean was carried out by Dr. Sarath Gamage under the guidance of specialist Dr. Gayan de Silva. “Usually patients lose a lot of blood during caesarean surgeries but we ensured it did not happen in this instance. We also continuously supplied blood to the brain during surgery” he said.

According to Dr. Mallawarachchi, the caesarean only took 11 minutes and was a success. “The team even provided the necessary vaccinations for the child immediately,” he said.

But despite the doctors saving her child, the mother’s heart refused to start up. For two hours, the doctors kept at it, trying to revive the young mother. “It was no easy task to artificially pump the heart of a patient who had just undergone a caesarean surgery but we did not give up,” Dr Mallawarachchi said adding that her heart only started up once more around 1.30 a.m. in the early hours of the next day.

Efforts were not in vain

“Our efforts were not in vain. Everyone worked hard. That is why we’re able to save her and the child” he added.

The woman was connected to a ventilator and transferred to the cardiology unit of the National Hospital in Colombo on the morning of September 21, where she continues to receive treatment.

“At a time where the health services are facing many obstacles including shortages we are pleased we were able to do our very best for the patient. I call on all other medical practitioners to continue fighting for their patients. Being able to save a life is a major victory for a doctor”, he said.

Dr. Gayan de Silva says this was a rare incident. “The pregnant mother was suffering from hypertension and some heart anomalies when she was admitted to hospital.

The medical team that performed the surgery

We were fortunate to save her and her baby through surgery at a time her heart had stopped functioning. I have never faced a similar incident in my career. It is even rarer that both their lives were saved.” he said.

Remarkable team of medical professionals

This truly amazing surgery was carried out by a remarkable team of medical professionals including Anesthesiologist Dr. Dushani Athapattu, Paediatrician Dr. Chamila Perera, Cardiologist Dr. Amila Walawwatta and Dr. Sarath Gamage who performed the caesarean section. They were given the guidance and support by Dr. Kapila Mallawarachchi, the director of the hospital and specialist Dr. Gayan de Silva. The effort of the nursing staff and others must also be highly commended along with the care and services of Dr. Roshan Paranamanage, a specialist at the Colombo Cardiology Unit.

The patient who was so miraculously saved was identified as a 32-year-old resident of Galmuruwa, Madampe. According to her family, she had not attended any maternal clinics in the last three months and had avoided them despite being advised she must attend them due to her condition.

The reason it was later revealed was due to the difficulties faced by her family. Her baby is currently receiving treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Chilaw hospital.

The Chilaw District Hospital has always strived to serve the public and is known for its untiring efforts. In fact, it has carried out the most number of PCR tests done by a hospital to date. It has also implemented better processes when it comes to the garbage disposal and providing food to its patients.

According to the Director, his staff ensures all patients receive the best of care, thereby going over and beyond any remuneration they may receive for their efforts. He simply puts down the success of saving the young mother and her child to the team effort of the staff.

Pics By Mihira Wijesekara (Marawila Group Cor.)