Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh is being asked to conduct a full investigation into the death of a male patient at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, to ensure that what caused the death does not recur in the future.
Deyalsingh is also being asked to do more to protect staff and patients from COVID-19.
The call from the Member of Parliament for Fyzabad Dr Lakram Bodoe follows a report in Wednesday’s Guardian newspaper that a patient at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital contracted COVID-19 at the hospital and died.
The Guardian reported exclusively that the elderly patient, who had comorbidities, was admitted and warded in the old COSTAATT building on December 22 where he was when the third outbreak occurred.
Last week the President of the T&T Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) Idi Stuart, indicated that 25 nurses, other staff, as well as patients were placed on quarantine and several of them have tested positive for COVID-19.
The death of the patient was confirmed by the North West Regional Health Authority.
In a brief statement in which the Authority extended its condolences to the family and friends of the male patient referred to in the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian newspaper article.
The NWRHA said the patient was admitted to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital in late December 2020 for the treatment of a severe medical condition to which he eventually succumbed.
The authority confirmed that a nursing supervisor was diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.
The NWRHA said as a result required screening and surveillance measures have been implemented and assured that it continues to strengthen its Infection Prevention and Control protocols in an effort to reduce the risk and spread of the COVD-19 virus.
But Dr Bodoe said he did not believe that enough was being done to protect the public.
According to Bodoe, the “entire scenario highlights a greater tragedy within our public health system that continues to be ignored by the government.”
“If proper safety protocols were upheld in accordance with World Health Organisation standards, this entire nightmare could have been avoided,” he said.
Bodoe described “the unfortunate death” of the patient as “a serious cause for concern,” and appealed to the ministry to ensure that “all protocols are adhered to as they must be the role models in this fight against COVID-19.”
He said “one can only speculate if the Ministry of Health cannot enforce their own health protocols then who can?”
Bodoe said the health of frontline workers must not be taken for granted, as he expressed concern that the “infection of 25 nurses also exposes the flaws in the entire system at the Port-of-Spain General.”
He appealed to the Ministry of Health to place as a matter of priority the health and safety of both patients and staff as measures are taken to combat the pandemic.
Bodoe suggested that the Ministry of Health must ensure proper Personal Protection Equipment is always available for frontline workers, as well as adhering to all World Health Organisation’s guidelines in the treatment and handling of patients.