Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital Quandary

August 2, 2023

I consulted a Neuron Surgeon in late May 2023, who visited Hemas Hospital at Talawathugugoda. She
was attached to Sri Jayawardena Hospital. My consultation was because I lost my balance while walking
and felt like I would fall at any moment. She kindly requested that I get a City Scan, which I did at
Hema’s Hospital there and then. Later I showed her the X-ray reports that showed that there was excess
fluid in the brain. Then I was advised that there was pressure in the brain with excessive fluid, and I
would be a ‘vegetable’ in the future and turn into a ‘baby’s brain, with no feelings at all.


She suggested an operation at Sri Jayawardene Hospital or Hema’s Hospital. As my son in Switzerland
was paying for the process, I decided to have the operation at Sri Jayawardena Hospital because the
Consultant was based there. She wanted me to admit on 3 August 2003. As the Consultant wrote, I
visited Ward No.3 to book a ‘paying ward’ and approached a nurse who advised me that no paying
wards were available in Ward but said No. 18 was the Consultant’s ward.

Filling out Forms to admit was not easy.

I filled out the necessary forms the following morning and paid an advance payment of Rs.1000 to book
a private separate room No: 1 room in Ward 18. After many tests, the operation was scheduled for 3
August 2023. Suddenly a nurse approached me, stating that their hospital ‘machine’ was ‘getting’
‘constantly many marginal errors. That made me send my driver to Durdan Laboratory, which was close
by, with a blood sample for Hepatitis C, which cost me Rs. 4600. Similarly, I had to send my driver again
to Durden laboratory to test the Pro-BNP test cost me Rs.9300.

Paying Ward

When I entered “Paying Ward” No.1, I detected no hot water on the tap or shower. No ‘emergency’ bell
either was working as the Emergency bell had come out of the socket! When a hospital gives a patient
and charges for a ‘paying ward,’ should it not be routine to have hot water in the shower at least? As a
result, I had a cold shower on the eve of the operation on 2 August 2023, before Poya Day.

In London

I have been studying in London and living there for many years. I had never worked in Sri Lanka. NHS
doctors are flexible and courteous to their patients. Some of the local doctors are not. In London, a
patient can say, “It is my body and decline any medicine like Statins for Cholesterol. The American Food
and Drug Agency had rejected statins given for Cholesterol. I highlighted this issue in a Column in a local
newspaper. However, my consultant and the nurses were lovely.

Early in the Morning

As early as 5.30 am, the guy comes to change bed sheets every other day without any consideration
while a patient is awaiting an operation. The operation involved buying the VP Shunt that goes through
a hole in the skull to drain excess fluid in the brain and send fluid through a tiny tube to the stomach by
inserting another spot. I did not know anything, as I was under anaesthesia. The Shunt was unavailable
in the hospital, and I had to purchase it from M & N Medical Services for Rs.175,000.00. No one told me
the payment had to be made in advance, so I assumed it would be included in the final bill.

Last minute before the operation at 8.30 pm, someone telephoned me the day before the operation and
made a fuss about not having paid in advance for the Shunt. I had no mobile number to telephone the
Consultant to say that the money would come from Switzerland, my son. In a rush, arrangements were
made through the nursing staff to proceed with the operation, and the Consultant gave a guarantee.

The final bill came to Rs. 837,328 and a few cents, including Government Taxes of Rs.3,900.00. But room
charges @6500.00 a day came to Rs.26,000.00 with no hot water facilities. I have been charged Rs.9300 + Rs.4600.00 because the hospital could not perform a Hepatitis C test and the Pro-BNP test, which
must be refunded. Another aspect was professional charges at Rs.665.875.29, which did not give a

I went through an open-heart surgery CABG in one of the leading private hospitals in 2014 in Colombo,
and lord behold, they detailed charges for every doctor who visited me during the surgery! All the
physiologist did was ask me: “Shall we go for a walk and walk me up to the nurses’ office about 10
Charges for physiotherapy are too high. Regarding professional charges, it should be detailed as
Consultant’s and anaesthetist’s fees typically. I did not have any connections with any doctor except the
doctor/dietitian, and I complained to the Consultant about a twitch in my right leg; as a result, I could
not sleep the previous night.

In the final bill, I was charged for the blood sample for Hepatitis C antibody tests which cost me
Rs.4600.00. and another test was at Durden’s Laboratory for B type Natriuretic Peptide (Pro-BNP),
which cost me Rs.9300.00. These costs should be refunded to me because I had to send my driver
outside the hospital to Durden Laboratory twice.

I underwent a bypass (Heat Surgery) CABG at one of the leading private hospitals in 2014, but they
charged systematically. They included every doctor who participated in a specific charge. However, the
Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital bill states that ‘professional charges are Rs. 655,875.00,’ but do not
mention the Consultant Charges, anaesthetic charges, or doctors separately.

I had already spoken with a doctor/dietician and another doctor who prescribed me some drugs due to
twitching in the leg. That was all. To get a bill is so astounding in the absence of hot water in the shower!

It is not up to the Consultants and Nursing staff’s responsibility. Still, the Management must decide to
put things right in the hospital, such as hot water on tap and showers, because the hospital charges a lot
for paying wards.


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