Wed | Jan 27, 2021

Gov’t not at fault for miscarriage – Tufton

Published:Friday | May 22, 2020 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
A Jamaica Urban Transit Company bus exits the Falmouth Port compound on Thursday en route to the Bahia Principe hotel in St Ann. The Adventure of the Seas cruise ship repatriated 1,044 Jamaican crew members on Tuesday.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton (left) and Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang address a press briefing at the Falmouth Pier on Thursday.


Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the decision to cancel Medevac helicopter support for the mother of two who suffered a miscarriage while aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Adventure of the Seas was made by authorities on the vessel.

Medevac provides air ambulance emergency service.

Tufton made the revelation during a press briefing at the Falmouth Port in Trelawny on Thursday shortly after the first batch of 200 repatriated cruise-ship workers were tested and transferred to the Bahia Principe hotel in St Ann, where they will await their COVID-19 results.

“There were arrangements being put in place regarding Medevac. However, there was a suspension of that request by the vessel and a request for a hold until the vessel was docked in port,” Tufton stated, adding that the report was that the woman’s condition had stabilised.

“And we were of the belief that things would be. We complied with that change of request as a health authority.”

Her identity has been withheld by The Gleaner.

The health minister argued that when the ship docked on Tuesday afternoon, there was an ambulance, senior medical personnel, including the senior medical officer, waiting on site to receive the patient in order to transport her to hospital.


The ship worker, originally from Westmoreland, told The Gleaner that she lost the baby after 10 weeks of pregnancy.

“I am not sure how I lost the baby. It could have been the stress. I was on lockdown for so long,” she said.

Acknowledging that the miscarriage was an unfortunate incident, Tufton slammed talk that the Government, and the health authorities, specifically, were complicit in the resulting tragedy.

“I just want to say categorically, we dialogued and we followed through on the instructions that were given based on the communication with the vessel, and we were ready to treat with the patient as soon as the vessel landed in Falmouth,” he said.

Tufton expressed sympathy for the patient, pledging that she would be given the best care that Jamaica’s healthcare system could offer.

The mother of two remains hospitalised and will be quarantined like the rest of her colleagues before being released to her family in Westmoreland.

On Thursday, Tufton said it took a much shorter time than anticipated to process the 200 workers who were targeted. Their samples, he said, were en route to Kingston, and the results are expected back in a day or two.

Ship workers testing positive will be placed in isolation while those confirmed to be free of the virus will be allowed to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.