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Sunday, March 04, 2007

SUNDAY EXPRESS: 'Too long to treat hurt cop'

In Ruth Osmon's Sunday Express article, 'Too long to treat hurt Cop', she reports on the case of a special reserve police officer who was injured in a vehicular clash on Friday night but who was not treated or seen by a doctor until Saturday afternoon. This was even though the injuries described by the doctor that the Express met with her on Saturday evening could be deemed serious. While another newspaper reports that emergency surgery was carried out in order to save one of the officer's eyes, the woman's relatives relate a different story.

According to the Express article, the officer arrived at the hospital at around 11:00PM on Friday, but no doctor had come to see her as late as 2:00PM on Saturday afternoon. The officer's relatives and friends indicated that it was only after they made contact with the Minister of Health that doctors appeared to get into action.

It is a sad, sad condemnation of the health sector that the Minister has to get involved in operational affairs and individual cases in order for persons to receive attention. This is a situation analogous to the CEO of the Neal and Massy Group having to get someone to clean up a spill in the aisle of a Hi-Lo outlet. Situations like this speak volumes about the very medical "professionals" who are clamour for improvements in salary and, as an aside, infrastructure.

While I am not about to paint all doctors and medical administrators with a broad brush, it does appear that there are a few in the system more concerned with money and malpractice indemnification than they are about their patients. The system, it seems, is sick and infected with persons who are not interested in doing the jobs that they were hired to do.

Perhaps this is why the Minister has sought assistance from socialist Cuba, a country where the individual is more concerned with the good of the society than they are with themselves. With the Cuban doctors' and specialists' influence, perhaps the Minister hopes that the Trinbagonian medical system can be "infected" with the required degree of professionalism, if the local medics can actually be shamed into doing their jobs by the presence of the foreigners. Perhaps this can help in the interim, even as calls are made to change the manner in which the medical profession is administered locally. [Read to the end of the article on changes to the British General Medical Council.]

That said, we are all concerned about the state of the health sector. But while we hold the Health Minister up for responsibility as chief administrator of the system, let's remember to hold the people who are supposed to be delivering the service to the same standard. And when people come clamouring for more money, ask them what they did today to deserve it.

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