Thursday, January 18, 2018

'...At hospital I will accept IV fluids but no food'


BURST OF ENERGY: Supporters and visitors reach out to hold hunger striker Dr Wayne Kublalsingh as he leaps up on to a pillar during day seven of his hunger strike outside the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair yesterday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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Environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh is willing to be fed intravenously at hospital should he collapse during his hunger strike.

As he completed day six of his hunger protest outside the Prime Minister's office in St Clair on Tuesday, Kublalsingh said he and his family had already made medical arrangements should his health take a turn for the worse.

"I will accept IV fluids, but I will not eat, not even in the hospital," he said as the camp broke up close to 5 p.m on Tuesday.

His family has already retained a private ambulance which remained parked nearby and a medical technician checks on him every 10 minutes, keeping a log of his vital signs.

"My team will take control of my body, but I will give the signal when I am ready," he said.

The medical team from SCI EHS said his mother, Vilma Kublalsingh, who has medical power over her son, has already given permission for him to be taken to the public hospital should he collapse.

Kublalsingh's sister Judy, an attorney, said the family was saddened by the whole situation and was worried about their brother, but is prepared to deal with his health situation.

His father, Ray Kublalsingh, said if his son died as a result of this stand against the government, he would be proud of him.

"We are prepared for the worst," he said.

Kublalsingh leaves the makeshift camp site on evenings and stays with family in Debe where he now monitored by a nurse overnight.

Kublalsingh said he has not eaten any food or drank any liquids since last Thursday and his mouth was "extraordinarily dry" and he was feeling "dehydrated and weak".

Kublalsingh has vowed to continue with the hunger strike even if he is taken to the hospital and said he would return to his vigils wherever the Prime Minister is when released from the hospital.

As Kublalsingh ended day seven of his hunger strike yesterday, he marveled at how strong he still felt despite losing 42 pounds in one week.

"I have dropped to 93 lbs," Kublalsingh said, lifting his shirt to show his thin frame. Kublalsingh said he started the hunger strike weighing 135 lbs and within the week, dropped to 93 lbs.

"As far as my health is concerned, I am amazed at my health. It is not relenting, the body is not going. I thought I would have lasted three days. All the vitals are very strong, everything seems to be healthy," he said.

But with a wary family standing watch and aged parents looking bothered by the action, Kublalsingh sought to allay the worst of their fears.

"I make a promise to you as soon as my vitals are threatened by a fluttering heart rate or feel excessively weak or dizzy, I will call on the facilities. They will take me to the Port of Spain General Hospital," he said.

Though Kublalsingh is still refusing to use the State provided ambulance parked nearby, he did make one concession.

"If there is traffic to get to the public hospital, I will be taken to a private institution," he said.

In a surprise burst of energy yesterday, Kublalsingh jumped onto a low pillar in front of the Prime Minister's office in St Clair. The move caught many of his supporters off-guard who rushed to him as he became unsteady on the small pillar.

Even as Kublalsingh becomes more emaciated, he said he would not relent.

"I believe this action would lead to victory, I believe that I will not die and I believe that they (his family) need to keep the faith. I have kept the faith," he said.

Kublalsingh arrived at the makeshift camp just after 10 a.m. yesterday and lay on a wooden cot provided by the family. His brow and extremities were sapped with a rag soaked in cold water.

"My mouth feels extraordinarily dry," he said. His lips became white and cracked as the heat of the day persisted. Two tents were erected outside the Prime Minister's office to shelter the supporters, the media and at times the visitors.

By 11.30 a.m., two wreckers began circling the area, creating a small stir as people ran off to move their vehicles. An hour later, four policemen parked their vehicle near the tents and said they had "complaints" about the pavement being blocked and had come to ensure the space remained clear but they left minutes later.

The session began as it ended with prayers for strength, peace and victory. Kublalsingh was expected to be under medical watch overnight and said he would return today to begin day eight of his hunger strike.