Mother Demands Rs. 260M From Royal College Principal After Her Son Drowned In Swimming Pool

December 07, 2014

A mother of two children had sent a letter of demand to the Principal of Royal College in Colombo 7 claiming Rs.260 million as damages alleging that there had been a lack of due care on the part of the School authorities and those who were entrusted with the care of her son Sasanka Jagath Alwis who suffered permanent brain injuries and left in a permanent vegetative state since March 2, 2013 at the scout camp where he drowned in the school swimming pool.

Geetha Chadani of Kollupitiya had sent this letter of demand to Royal College Principal through Attorney-at-law Vishwa de Livera Tennekoon and asked him to pay the concerned amount within two weeks from December 3.

Sasanka Alwis was a vibrant student engaged in not only academic work but also in various extracurricular activities such as Wushu, Drama and Scouting. He stated that the Scouting Camp was held within the premises of the school organized by the Royal College Scout troop on 2 March 2013, and Sasanka, being a member of the Royal College Scouting troop, participated in the said event.

On March 2, 2013 the mother of Sasanka Alwis entrusted her son to the Master in Charge of Scouting and left her son in his care. The activities of the said scout camp included several water related activities conducted at the School Swimming Pool, where the students were required to enter the pool.

The mother of Sasanka stated that as the operator of a swimming school within the premises of a school where there is a student population of over 6000, the school principal had failed to provide adequate lifesaving equipment or personnel within the premises or vicinity of the Swimming Pool. The mother and her son maintained that the scant and callous disregard in relation to safety of students by the school principal was an act of gross negligence or a negligent omission.

In the evening (March 2) Mrs. Chandani the mother of Sasanka arriving at the School premises she was informed by persons at the said camp that Sasanka had virtually drowned in the swimming pool and that he was taken in a critical condition to the National Hospital of Sri Lanka in Colombo.

She was subsequently made aware that her son was not administered first aid adequately nor promptly taken to Hospital. She stated that there were no ambulances or medical personnel at the said camp in case of such emergency, nor were there any available vehicles to transport her son, who was in a critical condition, to a hospital for immediate medical attention.

The mother further stated that her son was in an unstable and critical condition for over 3 months and treated at the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital in Colombo and thereafter to date was treated at the Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Hospital in Ragama with very little improvement.

She further stated that her son has remained unconscious and a permanent vegetative state from the date of the incident and remains in such state to date and his sustenance was delivered in liquid form administered through tubes inserted into him.

The mother further stated that Sasanka suffers in immense pain in his permanent vegetative state and has lost all amenities of life and his expectancy of a good and useful life have diminished completely. Further his life expectancy has diminished significantly and is expected to receive medical assistance throughout his life.

Chandrani, according to the letter, has undergone severe mental, psychological and emotional torment and she fights on hoping that one day her son will recover.

She stated that that presently she was incurring a considerable sum of money as monthly expenses in caring for the child and it is estimated that she would continue to need a substantial amount of money for his care.

She stated that to date, over a year since the incident, no action has been taken by the principal of the Royal College or the Royal College to support Ms. Chandani and her son in any manner or to provide relief financial or otherwise to ease the financial burden faced due to the injuries sustained by Sasanka.

She stated that in or about September 2013, attempts made by her to seek assistance from the principal were denied and the principal had refused to discuss the matter any further.

The mother stated that the pain and suffering undergone by her son was immeasurable and was expected to undergo such pain and trauma for the rest of his life with diminished prospects of life and amenities. In the circumstances, she values such losses at Rs. 100 million.

Further, the permanent injuries sustained by Sasanka have resulted with him requiring lifelong special assistance and in the circumstances the mother expects the cost of such expenses at Rs.10 million.

Further, the loss of future prospects of earning by young Sasanka was estimated at Rs.50 million