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Fuad apologises to pathologist
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan has apologised to pathologist Dr Eastlyn McDonald-Burris for saying she was unqualified but has maintained she must register with the Medical Board to regularise her status as a forensic pathology specialist.
After conflicting autopsy results of soldier Lance Corporal Curtis Marshall, Khan said neither Dr Hubert Daisley nor Dr Eastlyn McDonald-Burris— both of whom performed the autopsies—were qualified as forensic pathologists as far as the board was concerned. "As far as I am aware, the only doctor who is a forensic pathologist in this country, being registered with the medical board, is Dr (Valery) Alexandrov," Khan had said.
The Health Minister, however, yesterday apologise to McDonald-Burris, saying he never intended to insinuate she was not suitable for the job as a forensic pathologist. McDonald-Burris has been working at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, since 2000. “I apologise for saying she is unqualified as she is qualified as a medical doctor with an additional degree in forensic medicine,” Khan said.
He said, however, the onus was on her to present proper credentials to the board to be certified. “But I maintain she (McDonald-Burris) needs to needs to regularise her speciality status as a forensic pathology specialist with the Medical Board. For that I remain fixed,” Khan added. Asked why the board did not ensure doctors register to avoid such conflict Khan said the onus was on the person and not on the board.
Khan added he could only do so much as pathologists fell under the Justice Ministry and not the Health Ministry. He said he was seeking guidance from Alexandrov for implementing a specialist registrar which would list the specialities for doctors. Alexandrov has also come to the defence of his colleague, saying McDonald-Burris has been performing autopsies for the past 12 years and therefore qualified as a forensic pathologist.
Apart from Alexandrov and McDonald-Burris, Dr Hughvon des Vignes also performs forensic autopsies. But Alexandrov said as a foreigner he made it his duty to present his credentials to the medical board to be registered. He said ideally the Forensic Science Centre should have at least four forensic pathologists. In 2012 the centre conducted 907 autopsies of which Alexandrov did 437.
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