Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A dose of kindness, please


THIS is an open letter to Dr Fuad Khan.
Reading the story about the ill-fated Christopher Phillip broke my heart. It’s really sad to see persons go to these places with nurses and doctors (I can’t say hospitals because I am not sure what T&T has) and being left to die. The story is mind blowing and it is really a sad one. What made me even more upset was reading the Express and seeing the comments made by former minister of health, Fuad Khan.
I quote as follows: He said, “I am now asking whether the protocol has changed since 2015 where people are no longer receiving medical treatment at the hospital but being manhandled and thrown out and left to die.’’
Khan said the incident involving Phillip was clearly a case of medical negligence and brutality. “That is a case of medical negligence and the family should sue the system. That man died. And he didn’t die just so. He went for help and they missed something…...”. I read it countless times and each time mixed emotions consumed me.
Dr Khan do you remember the eight-year-old who died August 4, 2011, Asia Felicity Archibald? Do you remember the cause of death? By chance could you recall the comments made by the then minister of health saying that “All protocols were followed”? Well Dr Khan, just to refresh your memory a little, that comment was made by you.
In the case of Christopher Phillip I heard you ask if protocols changed since 2015 but if you asked me they must have changed even before 2015 under your team. It seems as though you conveniently forgot what transpired on your watch. In 2011 you said that all protocols were followed. You said Mr Phillip’s case was clearly a case of “medical negligence and brutality” but how come when Asia died it was merely an unfortunate incident? You also stated, “The man died. And he didn’t die just so. He went for medical assistance and they missed something.”
Dr Khan, is it possible that your staff missed something in Asia’s case?
A 2012 report showed that she was discharged in the wee hours of the morning while rain was falling, discharged by a junior doctor, not even a senior doctor, discharged before even receiving her dengue results although all symptoms showed that it was a suspected dengue case, and not forgetting, discharged even though she was unable to walk out the hospital on her own which meant that a wheelchair was needed. Almost six years later and no one has been held accountable.
This is not about being a UNC or a PNM. It is about being fair to the people of this country. Instead of playing the blame game why not help build this country for the better. Mr Phillip’s situation was very unfortunate and I pray that his family gets the justice they deserve. I know what it feels like when a family member dies even after seeking medical assistance because little Asia was my niece. My family, like Mr Phillip’s, placed trust in the health care sector only to be dealt a low blow.
Maybe if health officials dealt with things differently Asia and Mr Phillip may still be with us today. Maybe not! But we will never know because fair chances aren’t always given in these hospitals.
To the doctors, nurses, security personnel, clerks, janitors etc. working at these institutions I plead with you all, please try to be more humane. A simple act of kindness can save a life and save a family from a lifetime of heartache.
To the relatives of Mr Phillip and to everyone who lost a loved one under similar circumstances, my prayers are with you. Almost six years later and the pain feels the same for my family. Rest in peace, my beautiful niece, Asia and my brother in Christ, Mr Phillip.
Ana Archibald
Arima