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Medical delinquency was not cause of Allen’s demise, says PM

Medical delinquency was not cause of Allen’s demise, says PM


The delay in the surgery of social activist Oscar Allen had nothing to do with his death and it is a cruel thing to say it did.

“It is cruel to the family to say that [the delay in surgery caused his death] and it is a nasty aspersion on all the medical personnel who participated in the attendance of Oscar while he was at the hospital,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves stated on Monday.

Allen, 75 years old, passed away at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) on July 28, after undergoing surgery seven days before.

The surgery was put off twice because two of the three anaesthesiologists at the MCMH fell ill, leaving surgeons at the country’s main medical facility only able to conduct emergency operations.

The Prime Minister, speaking at a press briefing on Monday at Cabinet Room, said that the MCMH received harsh criticisms because of the shortage of anaesthesiologists and persons have been suggesting that Allen died because his surgery was delayed.

He described as “a cruel road” the hidden suggestions that Allen died because of the delay.

“They are not saying it openly, but all their innuendos underneath, I will bring out their innuendos for them, because I read what they write and I listen to what they say,” said Gonsalves.

He told reporters that he has spoken to the medical authorities about Allen’s death and was advised that the delay was not “the occasion or the reason for our dear brother’s demise.”

Gonsalves said that he was not at liberty to talk about Allen’s condition, as he is not a professional in the medical field.

“….and, also, it is not proper for anybody to be talking about that without the permission of the family,” stressed the Prime Minister.

Going further, the Prime Minister said that his mother was a patient at the MCMH before she died and he is satisfied that the 11 days she was there, the staff did their best.

“Sometimes, in some cases, medical science just can’t do anything,” noted Gonsalves, who stressed once again that it is cruel to suggest medical delinquency in Allen’s demise.

“…And they know it is cruel; that is why they are not directly saying it,” opined the Prime Minister who, however, noted that he is sure one or two crass persons will eventually say point-blank that it was the MCMH’s fault Allen died.

“I read how they write it and I listen their formulation. They want to build the shorthand story, hospital kill Oscar; that is what they want to do,” said the Prime Minister, who was probably referring to a print publication that said in their front-page story last Friday that Allen’s family were demanding an autopsy.

Gonsalves said in relation to surgeries done at the MCMH during Allen’s time, the doctors were in the best place to make the judgements, “…not me, not a blowhard from the Opposition.”

Two weeks before Allen died, he wrote to hospital administrator Grace Walters about the postponement of his surgery on two occasions. He said in the letter, which was copied to other Ministry of Health officials, that while a section of our population does not trust the services offered at the MCMH, he does.

Allen, however, called the deficiency of having only one anaesthesiologist “unacceptable” and said inattention to that problem “could have fatal consequences.”