“This awful tragedy drives home the painful reality of what is happening to ordinary Jamaicans in our health system,” Dr. Guy said in a statement released today.
"The Ministry needs to immediately launch an investigation into this incident to ensure that no such patient ever suffers from that heartless action and that this death will not be in vain.
"The refusal of admission of this patient because of lack of preparedness for COVID-19, the fear of contracting the disease, or lack of space to a mother in active labour is unacceptable, the Shadow Minister said.
“The Jamaican people need to be assured that our hospitals can treat with their emergencies, even in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. For months, the Minister of Health and Wellness has been saying, we are ready. If we are ready, this situation should not have occurred,” Dr Guy said.
The saga surrounding this particular case will forever remind us of our failure as a society to provide care to our people when needed. The information available to us suggests that there were attempts to get the young mother admitted to private as well as public hospitals, but none would accept her for fear of her cough and possibly the COVID-19 virus. This is disgraceful and there must be some amount of accountability, the PNP Shadow Minister said.
“Furthermore, the fact that she has died post-delivery is regrettable and most unfortunate and points possibly to negligence on the part of administrators in the health sector,” Dr Guy said.
“The report that the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH) could not accept her because they were awaiting results from the staff relating to a COVID-19 test, which were late in coming, points to a dereliction on the part of the Ministry of Health and Wellness in not having the results of coronavirus tests done quickly and reported expeditiously in such instance,” Dr Guy said.
“Regarding the case of the UWI, we have serious concerns about the protocols there for accepting patients, and we are again expressing our concerns,” Dr Guy stated.
While Spanish Town Hospital was prepared to accept the patient, this was delayed because the institution had to spend time fixing up an area to receive the young mother. This speaks to the unpreparedness of our health facilities to accept potential COVID-19 cases, for which the Minister must explain, Dr Guy said.
“This runs counter to the Minister’s assertion in the public domain that the facilities have been prepared to accept COVID-19 patients. We can appreciate that the smaller Type C hospitals may have challenges in finalized wards arrangements, but it is unacceptable that the Type B, the largest of such hospitals in the island did not have ready facilities to accept the patient. There seems to be total confusion in the system in terms of the measures in place to deal with COVID 19,” Dr Guy said.
He said the government also needs to immediately review the preparedness arrangements in all public health facilities to ensure that adequate space for isolation is in place and that the required personal protective equipment is available to all front-line workers.
“We know that our frontline workers are of the highest calibre and for them to refuse the patient, it means that there must have been other factors at play. We need to identify what happened and immediately rectify these problems so that it does not happen again.” Dr Guy said.
"As a people, whilst understanding that we live in unprecedented times and facing many unknown challenges related to COVID 19, we cannot allow those fears to allow our humanity as well as our compassion for others to fail us," Dr. Guy said.
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