Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Secret delivery - Ill Jamaican rushed from US base in Cuba to UHWI with no notice to local authorities

Published:Sunday | March 27, 2016 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
A sign outside the University Hospital of the West Indies.

Local health authorities were caught off guard late last Friday night when a critically ill Jamaican man, who had been working at the United States military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was airlifted to a Corporate Area hospital without any supporting information on his ailment.

According to sources in the public health sector, the "immobilised" man arrived in the island on an air ambulance and was immediately taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in St Andrew.

One source complained that local health authorities were never notified of the man's arrival and medical personnel at the UHWI had no information indicating how he sustained his injuries.

"It's a Jamaican by virtue of him having a passport, but we did not know what his condition was, and that was a little unusual because we were not informed of it officially," the source told The Sunday Gleaner.

"Obviously, something happened to result in him being in that condition. So you are moving someone to a location; clearly, you would need a file or something to know what the circumstances are. We would need appropriate notification so you could deal with it," the source continued.


Tufton still gathering information


Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton late yesterday said while he was aware of the incident he was still gathering information.

One source revealed that local officials attempted to get information from the United States Embassy in Kingston, but said those efforts were unsuccessful.

However, by late afternoon sources said local health authorities learnt that the man, who is among dozens of Jamaicans employed at the military base, developed a dental abscess.

According to one source, attempts were made to drain the abscess in Cuba and the man developed complications.

While making it clear that he would get the best medical care, the source suggested that measures be put in place to prevent any such recurrence.

"We have to put measures in place to prevent this from happening again," the source underscored.