A baseless attack on his character and a product of victimisation by a “medical cartel”.
This is how cardiologist Dr Conrad Murray has described a newspaper report in which questions were raised about his eligibility to practise medicine in Trinidad and Tobago.
Murray, the doctor who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of “King of Pop” Michael Jackson is Grenadian by birth but was raised in T&T.
A report in last week's Sunday Newsday alleged that Murray has been attending to patients at Rampersad's Medical Centre and Private Hospital in Freeport, despite not having a medical licence.
It said Murray is being investigated by the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago (MBTT).
Murray's medical licences for California, Texas and Nevada in the US have been suspended but he is adamant that he is properly licensed to practise in T&T.
Speaking exclusively with the Sunday Express via telephone from his California home yesterday, Murray said he was disturbed by the report and intends to take legal action against both the newspaper and the MBTT.
Pre-action letters are expected to be delivered next week.
Murray said the report was “entirely wrong, harmful and defaming” and he maintained that he has been fully registered with the MBTT since 2000.
“I have all the credentials necessary,” Murray insisted. “Registration is indefinite. There is no end unless you are barred or de-listed. I am fully approved and reports that I was seeking registration (in 2015) is completely false. ”
Murray said there have been efforts by people in the medical field to discredit him and assassinate his character.
This was communicated in a letter to the MBTT by Murray's attorney Kiel Taklalsingh.
The letter dated May 1 stated: “It has come to my client's attention that upon certain inquiries being made of the Medical Board, servants and/or agents and/or employees of the said board are disseminating erroneous information with respect to my client's registration status.
“As you are no doubt aware my client continues to be a bona fide registered member with your body and, as such, any representations to the contrary would undoubtedly constitute not only an illegality and/or irrationality for the purposes of judicial review, but also a clearly fraudulent and/or negligent misrepresentation.
“...as a medical practitioner, misrepresentations such as the aforementioned have the potential to cause serious economic harm to my client, with such harm being reasonably foreseeable to the persons perpetuating them.”
Taklalsingh demanded a written apology from the MBTT.
There has been no response from the MBTT to Taklalsingh's letter, in which the attorney indicated intentions to take the Board before the courts to solidify Murray's status as a licensed medical doctor in T&T.
Contacted yesterday, Taklalsingh said it is not necessary to renew a medical licence annually.
He said however that an annual fee is paid but, for reasons unknown, the MBTT has refused to accept Murray's fee.
He said this is the basis upon which legal proceedings will be initiated against the MBTT as it has no grounds to refuse Murray's fee as Murray has not be barred from practising in T&T nor has he been the subject of any disciplinary action.
He added that action for defamation is being taken against the Newsday for the “blatant falsehoods” printed in its report.
Murray working as cardiovascular consultant
Murray yesterday acknowledged that he has been retained at Rampersad's Medical Centre as a cardiovascular consultant.
Owner of the facility Dr Randall Rampersad told the Sunday Express that Murray has been providing services since the beginning of this year and has seen many patients.
He said no patient has expressed any trepidation or scepticism about being treated by Murray and many have voiced their support for him in the wake of the newspaper report.
As to how Murray came to be working at the clinic, Rampersad said Murray was introduced to him by a mutual friend.
He added he was fully aware of Murray's past.
“When I met him I knew he was Michael Jackson's doctor,” Rampersad said. “But he was also the doctor for Mother Teresa. I know of his skill. I know of his capabilities. What he brings to the table far outweighs whatever stigma there is. He is one of the best cardiologists and nobody in Trinidad and Tobago has the expertise he has.”
Murray declined to answer questions pertaining to concerns with his reputation as a result of the Michael Jackson death scandal.
But Rampersad said he did due diligence before engaging Murray at the clinic.
“I did my homework. I do not let any and everybody into the institution, they are properly and thoroughly screened.”
Checks by the Sunday Express revealed Murray's name is indeed listed on the MBTT's National Register of Medical Practitioners.
Rampersad claimed certain people in the medical field were out to tarnish Murray's character because they are “fearful” of him.
Murray told the Sunday Express he intends to establish an “acute stroke and vascular intervention centre” in Trinidad as he is disheartened by the quality of service given to patients in T&T.
He said the centre would allow people to seek a second opinion after receiving angiograms elsewhere as he believes many heart patients are misdiagnosed and too many are made to wait for years for lifesaving procedures.
The centre would also operate a charitable foundation for people in need of surgeries who are put on a waiting list in the public health sector, said Rampersad who has partnered with Murray in this venture.
“There are a lot of people who cannot afford to pay, who have been waiting in a line for years,” Murray said. “I want to bring that line to zero.”
Rampersad believes it is these plans that have made Murray a target of people in the medical fraternity as they see him as a “threat” to their work.
Murray believes much the same.
“It is clearly an attack from the medical cartel,” he said.
Rampersad defended Murray, saying of the many patients he has seen over the few months he has been engaged at the clinic, none have left dissatisfied and many, who could not afford it, have been attended to by Murray free of charge.
“The doctors want to bring him down because they know if he gets a proper footing in T&T, there will be no stopping him,” Rampersad stated.
Rampersad said he will also be filing separate lawsuits next week against various entities, as his clinic has been brought into disrepute. He however declined to divulge any details.
'Health system too slow'
Murray yesterday criticised certain aspects of T&T's health sector and said doctors often overlook critical issues while patients suffer through a slow process in the public healthcare system.
“People are waiting two, three years for an angiogram. That should not happen. That should be addressed,” he said.
“I am not looking for enemies in Trinidad and Tobago but my stance is not going to be popular.”
He said being raised in T&T, he is eager to give back and make a positive change in the healthcare system.
The controversial cardiologist said he has a lot to offer T&T and had previously discussed ways to offer his services with the previous minister of health Dr Fuad Khan.
The Ministry of Health last week indicated that it has launched its own investigation into Murray to determine whether he is approved to practise in T&T.
It however directed any further queries to the council of the MBTT.
Efforts by the Sunday Express to contact members of the council proved futile.