Mon | Aug 20, 2018

KPH workers interdicted as probe deepens into improper disposal of dead babies

Published:Thursday | May 31, 2018 | 1:10 PMJerome Reynolds
The entrance to the Kingston Public Hospital - File photo

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) is reporting that three employees, including the Mortuary Supervisor, at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) have been interdicted as it probes the case of the improper disposal of the remains of neonates stored at the hospital's morgue.

They were sent home today.

SERHA says in the interim it will immediately recruit additional mortuary staff and plans to enhance security systems to include the installation of a buzzer system and surveillance cameras.

It further says it will be strengthening and reinforcing the standard operation procedures for morgue services.

READ: Probe into improper disposal of neonate bodies at KPH

The authority says the investigation has so far has revealed that the standard operating procedure with respect to the storage and removal of human remains from the morgue was not followed.

The agency notes that this breach has resulted in some human remains being unaccounted for based on morgue records.

SERHA says it has since escalated its investigation, expanding the scope to include identifying control breaches, practices and issues surrounding accountability at the KPH and Victoria Jubilee Hospital’s morgue.

FULL STATEMENT

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) has escalated the investigation into the improper disposal of the remains of neonates stored at the morgue at the Kingston Public Hospital earlier this month.

The scope of the investigations includes identifying control breaches, practices and issues surrounding accountability at the Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee Hospital’s morgue. The process of transferring medical waste from the hospitals to the medical waste management facility and the transfer of human remains to the external morgue services provider are also being reviewed.

The investigation so far has revealed that the standard operating procedure with respect to the storage and removal of human remains from the morgue was not followed. This breach has resulted in some human remains being unaccounted for based on morgue records.

SERHA is also concerned about reports that human remains that had been reported missing have since been found or accounted for, and is investigating these reports with urgency.

While the investigation continues, the following actions are being taken:

The interdiction of three employees, including the Mortuary Supervisor and personnel from the Morgue and KPH Operations as at May 31, 2018, to facilitate continued investigations.

Enhancement of security systems to include the installation of a buzzer system and surveillance cameras.

Immediate recruitment of additional mortuary staff.

Strengthening and reinforcement of the standard operation procedures for morgue services.

Chairman of SERHA, Mr. Philip Armstrong has expressed his deepest regret about the situation and the impact it has had on family members of the deceased, and on the community. He has committed to spare no effort to identify the source of the problems and to take measures to ensure the problem does not reoccur.

The matter was first reported by SERHA to the public on May 12, 2018, after the remains of neonates were discovered.

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