Someone soaked the $3m apparatus in water, says Fuad
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan yesterday said someone deliberately sabotaged the $3 million brain surgery drill at the Port of Spain General Hospital by soaking it in water.
Responding to questions from the Express by phone as to why there was no drill at the hospital for the past few months, Khan said, "Somebody soaked it in water, it's a sabotage."
Asked whether he was aware of the case of Rahil Hosein, who was in need of brain surgery and died on October 6, Khan said, "I am aware of a lot of people who need the drill and I had instructed that a new drill be purchased immediately."
Khan said almost a month ago he also advised that in the interim the hospital should rent a drill, which costs some US$300 a day to perform the necessary surgeries.
He explained that he has stopped the outsourcing of services and noted that one brain surgery would cost in the vicinity of $90,000 and above, and it would be wiser to buy a new drill rather than spending millions at private hospitals.
Khan said he is working to change the public health sector and make it more efficient, but there were elements who were resisting this change and sabotaging major pieces of equipment. He claimed that at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, someone cut a line of the CT scanning machine.
In another incident, Khan said two cooling machines were down because of "unusual problems".
He also noted that the catherisation labs were always having problems because of a lack of servicing and maintenance.
Khan said he moved to ensure service contracts were in place for the maintenance and efficiency of all equipment.
Questioned on why he thinks people were sabotaging equipment , Khan said, "I think people are resisting change. People live in a comfort zones and when you want to raise the bar and create a better system, people don't like it. They don't like a lot of things that are happening."
Meanwhile, the Medical Practitioners' Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MPATT) yesterday called for an investigation into the absence of a drill at the Port of Spain hospital.
"At our meeting with the minister, when we brought it up, he insisted that a drill was bought, though we advised him otherwise. The question has to be asked: who told the Minister a drill was bought? Clearly, he was misinformed. MPATT calls for a full investigation into the matter," said MPATT president Dr Shehenaz Mohammed.
She questioned why Hosein was not transferred to the Mt Hope hospital for brain surgery.
MPATT, she said, has always advocated the health sector go back to basics and ensure all equipment and services are readily available.
"We are calling on the NWRHA to correct this matter. We cannot understand the tendering processes and management systems," she added.