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‘Private hospital launched witch-hunt for whistle-blower in cocaine case’

Published: 
Sunday, November 2, 2014

A lawyer was hired to carry out a witch-hunt for the whistle-blower who leaked a photo of 17 cocaine pellets that were surgically removed by a doctor from a suspected drug mule’s stomach at the institution last December. This was revealed yesterday by a spokesman in the medical profession. In an interview yesterday, the spokesman said, “When the mule went to the St Augustine Private Hospital to have the surgery done, a photo of the cocaine pellets was leaked. “When it went out it caused a furore. There was a kind of witch-hunt when a lawyer was brought in to interrogate the members of staff who were part of the surgical team. “Money was spent, and this $1,500-plus an hour lawyer was hired to find out who was the alleged whistle-blower. “There is a lot of spin going around about this story. “If he doesn’t want to take blame, the idea is to say that he was threatened and there was no evidence of that.”

The medical professional pointed out several details, one is that the Medical Board received no video of the alleged incident and questioned if it was a fabrication to cover it up. He said the doctor had no sort of increase in visible security after the alleged threat. He said the doctor had enough means to hire personal security guards, yet he was seen at several high profile functions and Carnival fetes after the incident with a family member, and without any security guards. He said contrary to a report that there was only one nurse with the doctor during the operation, there were five or six people in the surgery room. “You have to have an anaesthetist, the doctor performing the surgery, a “runner” to get the instruments for the doctor, an assistant nurse, someone to drape, and an attendant to wheel the patient in and out the operating theatre.”

He said when the mule’s condition deteriorated after the cocaine pellets were removed from his stomach and he was transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, the police had all avenues right away to obtain his toxicology report. The medical professional said this brings up the possible existence of a medical mafia working in conjunction with drug runners. 
He said this raised the issue whether other drug mules can be surgically implanted with drugs in their stomachs in private hospitals and sent abroad where a medical colleague will be able to remove drugs at a price. The source said every person in T&T was subject to the temptation of fast and easy money from drug lords.

The Medical Board of T&T (MBTT) has on its Web site, http://www.mbtt.org/CodeOfEthics_Responsibilities_to_profession.htm), three code of ethics on whistle-blowing:

Patients must be protected from a colleague whose conduct, competence or health is questionable. The concern raised should be dealt with expeditiously, and must override personal or professional loyalties.

Where there is a suspicion that criminal activity has taken place, and in particular in cases of alleged sexual assault, a police report must be made.

The MBTT is not a legal entity and as such cannot determine guilt nor prosecute any physician accused of a criminal act.

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