Sunday, 11 December 2016 - 10:35
Public can't be fooled for political gains so easily

"Anyone with a fragment of a legal knowledge or at least a basic understanding of world accepted norms will not make comments like these" - Dr. Dilini Silva
DBA (Aust), MBA (UK), MCIM (UK - Sri Lankan Prize Winner), BSc (Hon’s) IT(UK), Final Year Law (UK).
- Duminda Silva's sister
It is the responsibility of authorities concerned to treat a patient, even a prison inmate, if he needs medical assistance as it is his basic human right, former MP Duminda Silva’s sister Dilini Silva said.
She added that, "I think it's best if people are not misled by off the cuff statements and dramatic accusations without referring to proper legal documents. People are making various accusations of my brother Duminda Silva's medical condition. He is a patient with gun-shot injury and with fragments still in the brain. He is required to remain in the prison hospital as per all his doctors. He suffers from sleeping apnea requiring him to sleep with the breathing machine which is also another factor that he should remain in prison hospital as per all his doctors. All necessary medical documents are furnished to the relevant doctors and proper authorities and his condition is known to his doctors who did his surgeries in Sri Lanka and Singapore. Anyone can make accusations but I think we all should take a step back and see what rights and facilities prisoners requiring medical attention should be given as per the prison ordinance of Sri Lanka and as per the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules). What’s been dramatically highlighted in media about medical consultation, treatment and bedding are basic facilities which must be supplied to prisoners upon consultation of a doctor as set out in these legal documents. What highlighted even more is the fact of medical confidentiality which should be maintained. How can anyone report these unless one has permission from the patient only. Even the right to information act does not permit anyone to have access to anyone’s medical documents and say it out in public or on media unless these medical documents are required by law. 
As per the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) 
Health-care services 
Rule 24 
1. Prisoners should enjoy the same standards of health care that are available in the community, and should have access to necessary health-care services free of charge without discrimination on the grounds of their legal status. 
Rule 25 
1. Every prison shall have in place a health-care service tasked with evaluating, promoting, protecting and improving the physical and mental health of prisoners, paying particular attention to prisoners with special health-care needs or with health issues that hamper their rehabilitation. 
2. The health-care service shall consist of an interdisciplinary team with sufficient qualified personnel acting in full clinical independence and shall encompass sufficient expertise in psychology and psychiatry. 
Rule 26 
1. The health-care service shall prepare and maintain accurate, up-to-date and confidential individual medical files on all prisoners, and all prisoners should be granted access to their files upon request. A prisoner may appoint a third party to access his or her medical file. 
Medical files shall be transferred to the health-care service of the receiving institution upon transfer of a prisoner and shall be subject to medical confidentiality. 
Rule 27 
1. All prisons shall ensure prompt access to medical attention in urgent cases. Prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where a prison service has its own hospital facilities, they shall be adequately staffed and equipped to provide prisoners referred to them with appropriate treatment and care. 
2. Clinical decisions may only be taken by the responsible health-care professionals and may not be overruled or ignored by non-medical prison staff. 
Rule 30 
A physician or other qualified health-care professionals, whether or not they are required to report to the physician, shall see, talk with and examine every prisoner as soon as possible following his or her admission and thereafter as necessary. Particular attention shall be paid to: 
(a) Identifying health-care needs and taking all necessary measures for treatment; 
(b) Identifying any ill-treatment that arriving prisoners may have been subjected to prior to admission; 
(c) Identifying any signs of psychological or other stress brought on by the fact of imprisonment, and undertaking all appropriate individualized measures or treatment; 
(e) Determining the fitness of prisoners to exercise as appropriate. 
Rule 31 
The physician or, other qualified health-care professionals shall have daily access to all sick prisoners, all prisoners who complain of physical or mental health issues or injury and any prisoner to whom their attention is specially directed. All medical examinations shall be undertaken in full confidentiality. 
Rule 32 
1. The relationship between the physician or other health-care professionals and the prisoners shall be governed by the same ethical and professional standards as those applicable to patients in the community, in particular: 
(a) The duty of protecting prisoners’ physical and mental health; 
(b) Adherence to prisoners’ autonomy with regard to their own health and informed consent in the doctor-patient relationship; 
(c) The confidentiality of medical information; 
Rule 33 
The physician shall report to the prison director whenever he or she considers that a prisoner’s physical or mental health has been or will be injuriously affected by continued imprisonment or by any condition of imprisonment. 
Rule 34 
If, in the course of examining a prisoner upon admission or providing medical care to the prisoner thereafter, health-care professionals become aware of any signs of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, they shall document and report such cases to the competent medical, administrative or judicial authority. Proper procedural safeguards shall be followed in order not to expose the prisoner or associated persons to foreseeable risk of harm. 
Rule 35 
1. The physician or competent public health body shall regularly inspect and advise the prison director on: 
1. (a)  The quantity, quality, preparation and service of food; 
2. (b)  The hygiene and cleanliness of the institution and the prisoners; 
3. (c)  The sanitation, temperature, lighting and ventilation of the prison; 
4. (d)  The suitability and cleanliness of the prisoners’ clothing and bedding; 
Rule 58 
5. 1. Prisoners shall be allowed, under necessary supervision, to communicate with their family and friends at regular intervals: 
6 (a) By corresponding in writing and using, where available,telecommunication, electronic, digital and other means; and (b) By receiving visits. 

Prison ordinance: Sri Lanka
Power to make rules as to medical officer's duties.
18. (d) reporst on its cleanliness, drainage, warmth, and ventilation;
    (e) reports on the provisions, water, clothing, and bedding suplied to the prisoners.
Medical officer to report cases requiring special attention.
19. Whenever the medical officer has reason to believe that the health of a prisoner is or is likely to be injuriously affected by the discipline, diet, or treatment to which he is subjected, the medical officer shall report the case in writing to the Superintendent, together with such recommendations as the medical officer thinks proper.
Treatment of prisoners failing or refusing to take food.
20. (1) It shall be the duty of the medical officer to keep under close observation every prisoner whose health is or is likely to take food or sufficient food, and to subject every such prisoner o any medical treatment that may be necessary at the earliest possible stage after his condition is discoverd.
    (2) The medical officer may, whenever he considers it to be necessary or advisable, adopt any device or means which may appear to him to be suitable-
(a) for the compulsory feeding of any prisoner who, in the opinion of the medical officer, feigns inability to take food or wilfully refuses food with intent to procure a discharge from prison or any exemption from labour or for any other reason; or
(b) for the artificial feeding of any prisoner who has become unconsious or otherwise anable to feed himself.
    (3)The medical officer shall personally carry out the compulsory or artificial feeding required in any case referred to in subsection (2), and shall, in every such case, take all due precautions to ensure that no greater force is used than may be reasonably necessary for the purposes of such feeding.
    (4)The  medical  officer  shall  report  to  the  Superin- tendent for the information of the Commissioner-General, and to the Director-General of Health Services, full particulars of every   case   of  compulsory   or   artificial  feeding   carried out by him.

Medical examination of criminal prisoners.
43.Every criminal prisoner shall also, as soon as con- venient after admission, be examined by the medical officer who shall enter in a book to be kept by the jailer a record of the state of the prisoner's health and any observations which the medical officer thinks fit to add.
Civil prisoner may maintain himself. [§ 17, 53 of 1939.]
59.A civil prisoner shall be permitted to maintain himself and to purchase or receive from private sources at proper hours, food, clothing, bedding, or other necessaries, but subject to examination and to such conditions as may be approved by the Commissioner-General.
Allowance of clothing and bedding.
61.Every civil prisoner unable to provide himself with sufficient clothing and bedding shall be supplied by the Superintendent with such clothing and bedding as may be necessary.
Names of sick prisoners to be  reported to  jailer.Jailer to report  them to the medical officer
66.The names of prisoners desiring to see the medical officer or appearing out of health in mind or body shall be reported by the officer attending them to the jailer ; and the jailer shall without delay call the attention of the medical officer to any prisoner desiring to see him, or who is ill, or whose state of mind or body appears to require attention, and shall carry into effect the medical officer's written recommendations respecting alterations of the discipline or treatment of such prisoner.
Removal of prisoners to hospital, place of observation, or mental hospital.[§  20, 53 of 1939]
69.   (1) Where any prisoner is found or is suspected to be suffering from any disease (other than leprosy or a mental disease) which cannot adequately be treated or kept under observation in a prison, the Commissioner-General may, by a warrant of transfer under his hand, direct the removal of the prisoner to any public hospital in Sri Lanka (other than a leprosy hospital or a mental hospital) maintained or controlled by the Government; and such warrant shall be sufficient authority for the detention of the prisoner in the hospital for such period as the medical officer in charge of the hospital may consider necessary.
Bathing of prisoners.
70.All prisoners shall be furnished with proper means of washing or otherwise cleansing themselves and of having their clothing washed; and provision shall be made for their bathing within the prison, if possible, or otherwise at the nearest convenient place; and during such bathing or washing care shall be taken that different classes and sexes of prisoners be kept separate.
Visits from and  communication with relations. [§ 21, 53 ot 1939.]
71.Every prisoner shall be allowed, in accordance with such rules as may be made in that behalf under section 94, to receive visits from, and to communicate with, his relations and friends and his legal adviser, subject to such restrictions as may be imposed by the rules with a view to the maintenance of discipline and order  in the prison and the prevention  of crime.
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