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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2401

Can the Law produce a doctor?

"Oliver Twist" is a famous novel written by the great English novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870). We used that book as a text book in schools.

In my fading memory in old age, some golden phrases in that novel are still remaining there. One of them is a statement made by a character called Mr. Bumble. In the relevant incident, both Mr. Bumble and his wife were accused. In that context, when cross questioning, the court tells Mr. Bumble "Mr. Bumble, the law supposes that your wife always acts under your direction."

As soon as he heard this, Bumble's reaction was, “The law is a ass - a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience - by experience."

It is evident that sensible readers have some idea about the SAITM problem by now.

It is not necessary to mention here the background of SAITM. The medical institute at Malabe is a private medical college. To follow the MBBS Degree at SAITM, the fee is Rupees 12 million. Along with other expenditure to be incurred here for five years, it is not an easy task for average parents of a child to study here. It is not necessary to explain a long history of this institute which was established in 2009.

Craftily and continuously spending money lavishly, SAITM was able to make the others to believe that it possesses the authority to award MBBS Degrees. How they got this authority through illegal manner is a separate story.

However, since there are about 1000 students studying there, in July 2015, according to the Medical Act, a group of Ten Medical Professionals appointed by the SLMC visited Malabe Medical College and made a 3 day inspection and subsequently handed over a report to the SLMC.

The most essential requirement when studying medicine is that the medical students must have the opportunity to expose themselves to an environment to extensively examine patients suffering from various diseases. Although the medical students studying in government medical faculties do not have superior lecture halls, canteens, hostel facilities, etc., the most valuable asset that they have is the opportunity to attend to patients in teaching hospitals.

There is no shortage of patients suffering from various diseases receiving treatment at teaching hospitals. This is why the government medical faculty doctors have gained international reputation in recognition of their ability in diagnosis.

The inspection committee who visited the Malabe SAITM has reported, though the outer appearance is pleasant with luxurious hospital facilities, that the number of inward and outward patients there is very small. Since this is a grave shortcoming, the unanimous decision of the SLMC was that SAITM is not suitable to produce medical graduates to be registered under the SLMC.

Therefore, on 4th of September, 2015, the SLMC submitted a detailed report on the true status of Malabe SAITM.

The paragraph 10 of the report is given here within quotes. “According to the afore-mentioned facts in Para 10, on 4th September 2015, the SLMC, submitted an official recommendation to Hon. Minister of Health. The decision of the investigation, group of 10 medical professionals was that SAITM is not an institution to award medical degrees to be registered under the SLMC."

Accordingly, what the SLMC recommended to the Hon. Minister of Health was that SAITM should not be accepted as an institution to be registered under the SLMC. It is necessary to mention that the afore-mentioned direction was absolutely made by the SLMC, based on the legislative responsibility that it has in order to produce qualified doctors to ensure the quality, efficiency and safety of the medical service and care being provided to the people of this country.

If a decision could be made to register such graduates in the SLMC, having had read such a report without making any proposal or a direction to overcome those grave shortcomings with regard to patients, such law should be called, " the law is a ass - a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience - by experience."

This is an unofficial & rough translation of an article which appeared in the "Divaina" on 5th february 2017.

- Asian Tribune –

Professor Carlo Fonseka
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