Tue | Nov 13, 2018

Attack on Falmouth Hospital worries WRHA - Healthcare staff intimidated by people threatening to kill them if patient dies

Published:Tuesday | February 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Following in the wake of Sunday's attack in which relatives of an accident victim threw stones and bottles at a section of the Falmouth Hospital, in Trelawny, resulting in minor damage, the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) says medical staff should not be put in a position where they have to fear for their safety.

According to reports, relatives and friends of Dwayne Falconer, who died at the hospital while being treated for injuries he sustained in a car crash along the Martha Brae main road, used stones and bottles to shatter the glass door to the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department, causing slight injuries to some staff members.

Dr Ken-Garfield Douglas, the WRHA's regional director, said that such actions created fear in staff members at hospitals and health centres, as it would appear that people were seeking to intimidate the staff to get service.

"I don't like that my staff always has to operate in fear, such as when a man comes to a health centre with a gun and he tells the staff he wants service now. Persons come and intimidate the staff and say that if you let this patient die, they are going to kill you afterward," said Douglas.

THE WRHA regional director said that, consequently, hospital staff will not trust persons who seek treatment. "The staff has no trust in the public, as everybody is watching to see if this person is going to be boisterous or is this person someone who I will have to run out and leave inside here?" said Douglas.

"We have to look at what kind of policy needs to be implemented in terms of security, but it is something we have gone over and over at the board level and at the level of the Ministry of Health."

Following the incident on Sunday, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton condemned Sunday's attack, while the facility's board chairman, Kenneth Grant, said that security at the hospital would be beefed up.

The matter is under investigation by the Trelawny police.