Duke, Hinds are responsible for patient, says Khan
Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan yesterday slammed Opposition Senator Fitzgerald Hinds and Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke for interfering with an ill patient's treatment.
Khan, in a telephone interview, said he had the Cheryl Miller medical report before him and pointed out that important medical treatment was being superseded by a legal writ.
"Anyone who goes and removes an ill patient in such a manner and uses a habeas corpus to remove someone against medical advice and against the advice of the specialist in the fields will have to be held responsible for that patient," he said.
Under doctor/patient privilege, Khan said he could not reveal Miller's diagnosis but confirmed her doctors indicated the "seriousness of the situation".
"The doctors would have explained the situation to both Hinds and Duke, and I will overturn any stone if something happens to that woman and hold both Hinds and Duke responsible," he said.
"If someone goes against a medical doctor's advice, the court or whoever, someone has to receive the patient," Khan said, adding the St Ann's Psychiatric Hospital will no longer be responsible for Miller.
"This is going to have serious repercussions for this patient. We as doctors know what's going to happen. Dr (Chief Medical Officer Ian) Hypolite is extremely qualified," Khan said.
"As doctors, we know that something is wrong," he said.
He charged both Hinds and Duke with using the Miller case for political mileage and bringing the legal aspects to score "cheap political points by jeopardising the patient's care".
"They are doing that without understanding the medical facts," he said.
Khan said almost all mental patients can look and act normal until a negative reaction was triggered.
"People with personality disorders can be fully functional until that one straw that breaks the camel's back. A person may then commit suicide or hurt other people around them," he said.
Khan said a specialist doctor can look at a case and intervene before that happens, "but when you have an interruption because of political carelessness, I, again, will hold those individuals responsible".
One psychiatrist suggested Miller may be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, but when that question was posed to Khan, he would only say he was "not answering" that question.
Miller, who was described by co-workers as quiet and introverted, had an outburst in her office at the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development just over two weeks ago.
Her case was highlighted by co-workers, who objected to the manner in which Miller was forcibly removed from her office by mental health workers and taken directly to the St Ann's Psychiatric Hospital without a referral from a medical doctor, according to standard protocol laid out under the Mental Health Act.
"I sorted that out; there is much more to the story, but the truth will come out later," Khan said, responding to the co-workers' concerns.