Consultant gynaecologist Dr Jehan Ali has lashed out at his colleagues at the San Fernando General Hospital claiming that their irresponsible behaviour has led to the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department being reduced to "shambles."Ali, who left the hospital in 2007 to go into private practice, said he believed he was prevented from coming back to work at the hospital because he publicly spoke about the death of 29-year-old Chrystal Boodoo-Ramsoomair.Boodoo-Ramsoomair died at the San Fernando General Hospital on March 4 while undergoing a third Caesarean section.According to Ali, on March 18 this year, Dr Lakram Bodoe, chairman of the South West Regional Health Authority suggested that he (Ali) return to the hospital to perform operations due to the backlog of cases."Dr Bodoe suggest to me that he would like me to return to the hospital to do an operation list and to show the doctors how to perform surgeries since most of them cannot make an operation list, Ali said."He asked me what my fees would be like and I gave him reduced fees, 40 per cent less of what I normally charge outside of the nursing home," Ali said.
He said up to ten days ago he spoke to representatives of the SWRHA who again expressed interest in having him return to the hospital.Ali said on that occasion, he again showed interest in returning and lowered his fees even further.Ali said however, that despite assurances no one from the hospital's administration has contacted him and he believed he was being deliberately sidelined by a particular group of doctors.Ali said he "understood" that at a recent meeting, certain doctors objected to his return at the hospital and threatened mass resignation.He said he was certain it was because he spoke about what transpired at the hospital leading up to the death of Boodoo-Ramsoomair."It is my understanding that the doctors had a meeting and they said they don't want me there, they said they will all resign, Ali said."It is the same way when I went to help Chrystal and I was refused because they knew I was more competent than them.
"Because I was refused the patient was made to suffer but I was in every right entitled to help the patient," Ali said.Describing the behaviour of those doctors as "childish," Ali said the majority of doctors who objected to his return were the ones who he took under his wing and trained."Those same doctors who did not want me to come back are the ones who I personally trained...Now they are up in arms against me, he said."They are junior doctors and instead of seeing about poor people who sacrifice their last dollar to come to the hospital, the doctors prefer to put on a stethoscope and go Gulf City Mall and parade.When he headed the department from 1990 to 2007, Ali said it was one of the best functioning units with a low mortality rate.
He said at that time the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department was on par with the Orthopaedics Department.Ali charged that the maternal mortality figure had trippled since he left the hospital."That whole place is a joke...There is no discipline and doctors believe they could hold the public to ransom by refusing to work and saying they are under stress," he said."Maybe they should join a Cepep gang and learn to cut grass at the side of the road," Ali said.Accusing the doctors of holding the SWRHA to "ransom," Ali appealed to doctors not to avoid work because of stress, since obstetrics was one of the most "stressful disciplines."
He also claimed of instances of "cover-ups" adding: "They keep trying to cover up things for years at that hospital. It is the pits."Saying he was not bothered by what appeared to be "deliberate victimisation and spite," Ali maintained he has a "thriving private practice and was not scrunting.""This is a case of pure vindictiveness, he said. "There are certain doctors who feel I may be encroaching on their territory that is why they don't want me there."If I have to go back it would not be for the hospital but for the people."He added that patients waiting for surgery were forced to wait even longer, during which time their condition worsened.
"Most of the people who come to the San Fernando General Hospital cannot even afford passage to do so," Ali said."And when they do arrive, they have to endure the disappointment that their surgeries cannot be performed."The doctors are insensitive to these people, it is wrong to treat people like that especially poor people."When asked whether doctors in fact threatened to resigned if Ali was to return to the hospital, acting medical director of the San Fernando General Hospital, Dr Lester Goetz, insisted that "things would be back to normal" come next Monday.