Why did neurosurgeon have to wait to see patient?
Stabroek News
February 28, 2002

Dear Editor,

Some weeks ago the Georgetown Hospital had a statement published about preserving its image.

I have learnt (26.2.2002) that permission had to be obtained from Minister Ramsammy for a consultation to take place between a visiting surgeon and the unfortunate prison officer who was shot.

I also learnt from an article (25 2 2002) that the relatives had initiated contacts with neurosurgeons.

One of Henry Jeffrey's first acts as Minister of Health was to corporatise the Georgetown Hospital. The Government gave the impression in that it was their intention that the hospital be run by a Board of Directors.

The present position is that there has been a gross dereliction of responsibilities by Minister Ramsammy and no board is in place. As a result the Georgetown Hospital remains rudderless and there have been complaints of high handed and arbitrary actions by those who have arrogated to themselves the functions of a non existent board.

From the newspaper account the surgeon had to wait two and a half hours to be given permission by Minister Ramsammy. The right to allow a medical practitioner to see a patient is by hallowed convention the exclusive prerogative of the attending physician and no one else. If the newspaper article is correct Mr Ramsammy was usurping authority which he did not have and the outrage is compounded by the fact that the hospital is supposedly delinked from state control.

It appears from the newspaper articles that had the relatives not taken the initiative in obtaining expertise there would have been the customary abandonment and abdication of responsibilities.

It is most regrettable that relatives have to face the anguish of initiating a process which was the responsibility of the hospital and attending physicians.

It is troubling that the relatives had to "dig deep into their pockets" while an apologist talks of collaborative efforts by the Ministries of Health and Home Affairs. To study medicine without information is like going to sea without a compass but to run a hospital without leadership is akin to a voyage on the Titanic.

What image is the Georgetown Hospital seeking to safeguard?

Yours faithfully,

Walter Ramsahoye