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ST. VINCENT | Health Minister dismisses reports regarding the situation at main hospital

Health Minister Luke Browne Health Minister Luke Browne
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Aug 14, CMC – Health Minister Luke Browne has rubbished suggestions that the decision to have one of his nephews fly out to Barbados for urgent medical treatment is a reflection of the existing conditions at the island’s main health facility, the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCHM).

Browne said that the child, the son of Agriculture Minister, Saboto Caesar, had been a patient at the MCHM before a decision was taken by his parents to fly him to Bridgetown.

“You’re behaving as if the child fall sick today and tonight he rush out of St. Vincent. He was at the hospital for several days in St. Vincent and the Grenadines even before his parents even ventured to think to take him abroad. For several days here and because of a worsening of his condition, because he developed some cardiac complications and we don’t have a cardiologist in St. Vincent, then a decision was taken to take him abroad,” Browne said on a radio programme here.

Milton Cato“That is responsible parenting. In the first place, they had trust in our system here. He was here for a long time. He developed some complications and, as I said at the outset, is it sometimes necessary for us to seek medical attention abroad. And it is not as if only one set of people could get medical attention abroad. And it is not as if the government paid anything at all for his pursuit of medical attention overseas. We have confidence in the health system,” he told radio listeners.

The situation at the hospital here has come under scrutiny after 75-year-old social and political activist Oscar Allen, died seven days after undergoing urgent surgery to his large intestines. The surgical intervention had been twice postponed after two of the three anaesthesiologists at MCMH had fallen ill. .

In a July 14 letter to administrator of MCMH, Grace Walters, and copied to other officials, including the Health Minister, Allen said that the delay in the surgery could have “fatal consequences”.

But the activist, who was buried here last weekend, had also written that while a section of the population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines “does not trust the services offered at the MCMH. I however do.”

Browne said that Allen had expressed trust in the hospital and that is “not a part of his letter that should be hidden under a bushel.

“We know that it is not perfect, while we know that some matters might need to be referred, there is a general confidence in the system and that is a confidence that Oscar Allen himself expressed in the letter.”

The Health Minister also dismissed suggestions linking the death of 27-year-old Daniela Daniel, the  daughter of Housing Minister, Montgomery Daniel, who died in Trinidad on July 18, days after she was hospitalised at MCMH.

Browne said that as far as he knows, Daniel’s death was not linked to the MCMH.

“That’s not what we found and I wouldn’t comment on that too much. I mean, I can talk about my nephew’s case because I have clearance on that, but, I mean we have to really avoid getting into the specifics of instances,” he said.

He however said that the minister’s daughter did not die because of a situation that developed at the hospital.

“I have had reports and on the basis of those reports, I am making my comments to you here. But, in terms of elaboration, it would not be appropriate for us to elaborate on them…

“What I would say, as well, in relation to that case — and I really want us to leave it there because we have to have some respect for the families — is that there were very long weather-based delays that prevented Mr. Daniel’s daughter from being able to leave St. Vincent and the Grenadines before the time she actually did.”

  • Countries: St_Vincent_Grenadines