Hargreaves Memorial apologises to Dr Singh
Livern Barrett, Senior Staff Reporter
Hargreaves Memorial Hospital has apologised to prominent Manchester medical doctor Stephen Singh for the “unprofessional and unwarranted” actions of some of its health care workers while he was a patient at the privately-owned facility awaiting “precautionary testing” related to the coronavirus.
The apology comes nearly two weeks after the March 22 incident and a subsequent voice message that went viral on social media ignited fears among residents in and around the central Jamaica town, where Singh is widely known.
Dr Azzard Comrie, Senior Medical Officer at Hargreaves Memorial, revealed, in a Sunday Gleaner article published last week, that he was asked by the Health Ministry to admit Singh to the hospital’s isolation unit “on the grounds that they heard that he was ill, having cough and fever, and that he had come in contact with known people who had COVID-19.”
Chairman of the hospital Calvin Lyn admitted, in a statement released yesterday, that during Singh’s stay “exchange of words was heard coming from the nurses’ station which were deemed unprofessional and unwarranted.”
“Hargreaves does not condone this type of behaviour, whether it be management or members of staff. Hargreaves Memorial Hospital sincerely apologises to Dr Singh’s family for such behaviour,” Lyn said.
Comrie conceded, in The Sunday Gleaner article, that some nurses went into “panic mode” when the popular physician was taken to Hargreaves.
As a result, he said there were breaches of the protocol established by the hospital for the treatment of suspected coronavirus patients and said that the senior management team is now conducting a complete review of what transpired.
All employees who were on duty have been asked to submit a report.
Singh’s family has expressed outrage at the treatment meted out to him.
“It was very disgusting and very out of order, in terms of their reaction towards him. It was very unethical and very dangerous from a patient management point of view,” his son, Dr Jason Mungal-Singh, told the newspaper.
Lyn underscored that the privately-owned medical facility is not equipped to handle COVID-19 patients and disputed claims that health workers at Hargreaves refused to treat Singh.
According to him, the respected doctor was admitted to the hospital’s Vision of Hope Wing where he was assigned a registered nurse.
“At no time was Dr. Singh left unattended.”
Lyn said after further evaluation, Singh was “personally escorted by our senior medical officer, via ambulance, to the May Pen General Hospital at approximately 3 o’clock Monday morning.”
“To date, we have not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19. These are unfavourable times that our country is experiencing and when such cases present itself many tend to panic and fear gets the best of us,” said Lyn.
He said under the COVID-19 protocol established by Hargreaves Memorial, patients who fit the case definition set by the health ministry are to be isolated before contact is made with the appropriate health authorities and arrangements made to transfer them to a facility that can better accommodate them.
“Protocols are set in place for our staff to follow. We did not, at any time, refuse care to any patient.”
Lyn said Hargreaves Memorial has no evidence that any of its employees was involved in circulating Dr Singh’s medical information on social media.
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