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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2583

GMOA Cannot Save Their Man

By L. Jayasooriya – A Commentary

Anyone who saw the GMOA spokesman on television could not have failed to see his excitement and anger against the government over the Rubella tragedy. In response to the minister who said that all instructions with regard to the administration of the Rubella vaccine have been printed in two places the GMOA replied that nowhere has it been stated that a person who has allergies should not be given the vaccine.

Does that mean any layman can safely administer the vaccine as long as he makes sure that nowhere it is stated that the vaccine should not be administered to a person who has any form of allergy? If the answer is in the negative then for what reason is such an argument advanced unless it is an attempt to protect the doctor who administered the vaccine in spite of the warning given?

Leaving aside any or all questions, the public has come to understand that the mother of the 12 year old victim Peshala has written a letter stating that Peshala was allergic to certain foods and has asked the doctor to look into it before administering the vaccine. Nobody in this country is going to believe that Peshala did not hand over the letter to the doctor administering the vaccine. I personally would imagine that this 12 year old girl who can really be called a child, brought up in a Sinhalese rural environment where respect for the elders is an essential part of the upbringing, would have knelt down before this doctor, placed her palms on the floor and lowered her forehead to touch the back of her palms, then rose up and handed over that letter to the doctor with both hands in deep respect.

What kind of a human being is this doctor to ignore that letter and administer the vaccine taking advantage of the fact that the child was too young and immature and frightened to ask questions from the doctor and thereby protect herself from him? Whether he read the letter or not it has been established that he has administered the vaccine to her. Unless the WHO experts firmly establish that death was not due to any allergy the GMOA cannot save their man. He will get what he deserves and the government should see to it that he gets his due in full.

With the evidence the attorney general has it will be a very simple matter to get a conviction of death due to gross medical neglect willfully done even after the warning. Besides one of the WHO experts said that on seeing the letter the decision should have been to postpone the vaccination pending investigation, something that is obvious to any layman.

It is not difficult to prove that this is not an accident but is willful gross medical neglect that resulted in the death of an innocent child. We the public expect the minister to instruct the attorney general to ask for the longest jail term possible taking into account the guilty feelings of the mother for not accompanying her daughter and telling that to the doctor herself. This doctor could not have reassured her that it is safe to administer the vaccine and her maternal instinct would have prompted her to order the doctor not to touch her. How long could this innocent poor mother having lost her only child at the hands of this doctor, live with this guilt? She may in all probability commit suicide one day.

It is the duty of the government to ask the Court to take this fact also into consideration in determining the sentence not only because justice demands it but also of the necessity to give confidence to the people in the vaccine to avoid national disasters caused by parents refusing to vaccinate their children in the future.

- Asian Tribune -

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