Consultant gynaecologist Dr Jehan Ali has described the inquiry into the death of Chrystal Boodoo-Ramsoomair as a waste of time. He said he did not believe any good would come out of the probe. He predicted that it would be settled out of court and the problems that plagued San Fernando General Hospital would continue. Ali appeared before before the Dr Bharat Bassaw Commission investigating the circumstances of Boodoo-Ramsoomair's death on Friday afternoon. He later told the T&T Guardian he was made to feel as though he was on trial and in a witness box. "In the inquiry into the 1990 attempted coup, people were allowed to speak and question the panel...Why not in this inquiry?" he asked.
He said the presence of MPATT president Dr Colin Furlonge and general secretary Dr Shehenaz Mohammed during his testimony added to his discomfort. "I am no longer a member of MPATT, why were they there? To maco?" he asked. Ali added that he was not given an opportunity to ask questions or give evidence about what transpired on the day the 29-year-old mother died after giving birth to her third child by Caesarean section at San Fernando General Hospital. "I was prevented from saying what I had to say...I had to go along with whatever questions they wanted to ask me," he said.
According to Ali, questions centred around the protocol at the hospital which mandated the presence of a registrar and consultant during C-sections or high-risk cases. On the evening Boodoo-Ramsoomair went into surgery, a house officer was assigned to her case. Ali, Boodoo-Ramsoomair's private gynaecologist, said there was no verbatim recording of his evidence or the evidence of others. He said a member on the panel told him it was not necessary to record evidence at the inquiry. Ali said a request to tape his deposition with his personal recorder was denied. "They were all there, with paper in front of them, but I do not believe they were on the same page," he said.
"I could have said something very important which they may have omitted." Ali said he was even told that it was not really necessary for him to be there. At this point, he said, he thanked the three-member panel, which comprised Bassaw, Gladys Gafoor and Sister Hutson, and left. "This is a waste of time...I thought they wanted me to give an account of what I saw, the condition in which I saw the patient from 5 pm on March 4 to 10.55 pm when she died," Ali said. "I thought they would have recorded the evidence of all those who appeared before the panel, so they could read it over and draw their own conclusions." Ali said he thought the investigation would have been properly done, to see what went wrong with a view to improving, but he was wrong.