Pensioner Pearl Job was dramatically wheeled into a packed courtroom at the Tobago High Court at high noon yesterday on a gurney, wrapped up in sheets with a feeding tube attached through her nose and with two body restraints.
Relatives could not contain their emotions and broke down as they saw 86-year-old Job for the first time in months, after complaining they had been denied access to her since late December by the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA), which kept her at the TRHA's Geriatric Unit, in a home at Tank Road in Signal Hill.
Her relatives also complained of poor treatment and lack of adequate care for Job at the facility and the fact that they were prevented from seeing her.
They were concerned about her state of health, especially with a large bedsore on her buttocks.
Their concerns led to an application being made by attorneys, Martin George and Company, to the High Court and, last Friday night, Justice Carol Gobin granted the order for a writ of habeas corpus to be issued compelling the TRHA to produce her before the court.
It was a tremendously moving scene as Job was wheeled into the court and lay there motionless in the presence of TRHA medical chief of staff Dr Nathaniel Duke, TRHA chief executive officer Paula Chester Cumberbatch, TRHA head nurse Moore and Job's friends and relatives, including a new-born baby.
A hush fell over the courtroom as Justice Gobin, in her robes, left the bench and came down to view the pensioner on the gurney and then spoke to her.
Gobin then ordered that, having been produced before the court, Job should be returned immediately to the TRHA's medical facilities so as not to put the patient under any further stress.
Attorney for the TRHA, Mr Thomas, then agreed with the attorneys for Job's family, Martin George and Carol Ann Bernard, on an order which was issued by Justice Gobin as follows:
1. Pearl Job is to be medically examined by an independent medical professional at the THRA's facility and a medical report presented to the court within 14 days, indicating her general state of health and on the issue of the bedsores and why her hands were bandaged and any other matter of importance which the examination reveals.
2. The TRHA is to allow unrestricted access to Job's friends and relatives to see her while at the TRHA's facilities during their visiting hours and in keeping with their rules and regulations.
3. The parties are to come back to court on March 25 to report on the progress of the matter.
Upon conclusion of the hearing, Job's friends and relatives left immediately in a tearful celebration to go to Scarborough Hospital to see her and to have her medically examined.