CHAIRMAN of the South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) Dr Lackram Bodoe is not compromising the integrity of the investigation into the death of Sasha Ali-Bisnath because of his affiliation with the Gulf View Medical Centre in La Romaine, Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan said yesterday.
Bodoe operated a private practice at the private nursing home.
Ali-Bisnath, 28, died at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) on Friday, one day after delivering her second baby at the nursing home by Caesarean.
A preliminary report on Ali-Bisnath's medical care at the SFGH was sent to Khan.
Khan promised to take action if negligence was found in her death.
Bodoe said the preliminary report suggested the medical staff at the hospital did everything they could to keep Ali-Bisnath alive after her transfer.
Both Khan and Bodoe, who attended the commissioning of the San Fernando Teaching Hospital at Chancery Lane in San Fernando, yesterday said there was no conflict of interest in the investigations.
Khan said, "I believe that I have confidence in being professional. Dr Bodoe is a professional. He will act as a professional. You have to understand that Trinidad and Tobago is a small place.
"He is the chairman of the South-West Regional Health Authority. He is not investigating at the private institution. He is just giving me a report as to what occurred from the entry of the San Fernando Hospital to when she died."
Bodoe said, "As chairman of the SWRHA, any maternal death requires an investigation from the authority, and that report is sent to the minister. This is nothing new.
"What happens is that the Minister of Health is the one that has overall authority over all the institutions, so my report will not encompass the treatment or the care received in the private institution."
Khan said although he had a copy of the report, he was unable to release any information to the media.
He said the doctors who treated Ali-Bisnath at the medical centre and SFGH were still on duty.
Khan said, "As Minister of Health and being both in the public sector and the private sector, and I have been a vice-president of the Medical Board (of Trinidad and Tobago); I know what is necessary to audit systems and to take action and to make the system a little more accountable."
He asked Dr Colin Furlonge, a member of the Medical Board and the SWRHA board, to "look into the aspect of registration of doctors for both public and private aspects".
He said, "What I have asked him to look at is to see if we have registration that could be looked at in the manner if some doctor or someone has complications that is more so than normal, whether we can look at the registration process and deal with it on a further training or audit systems involved."
Bodoe said there was no need for relatives of Ali-Bisnath to be concerned that the doctor who performed the surgery was present in the first autopsy at the hospital.
He said, "As far as the policy of the SWRHA is concerned, any doctor who treats a patient, whether in the public or private sector, is free to follow that patient's care in the hospital and is free as well to witness a post-mortem in the unfortunate situation where a patient might have died."