The murder of Nurse Shellion Pinnock-Lafayette, who was gunned down as she made her way home after performing her duties at the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary, has been labelled another chilling reminder of how gun violence is ripping apart Jamaican families and communities.
In a release, the Medical Council of Jamaica over-whelmingly condemned the murder and said it mourned with Lafayette's family and colleagues over the atrocity that has visited them. "At this time of profound sadness, the council also notes with alarm that the killing follows sharply on the heels of a hospital invasion in May Pen where a patient was shot to death in his bed," the release stated.
"Members of the medical community, who deliver selfless, dedicated health care to their patients under very challenging circumstances, are now engulfed in fear over concerns for their own safety. These acts of violence only serve to traumatise hospital staff."
The Medical Council said it believed it was the collective responsibility of the ministries of health and national security to take bold, meaningful steps to improve security at health-care facilities. "The council recom-mends that threat-assessment teams be dispatched to all these facilities with the mandate to speedily report on what needs to be done to correct security failings and give health-care personnel the assurance that their safety is of paramount concern."
The council said it welcomed the stated intention of Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson to review security arrangements for patients who are victims of violent crime with a view to strengthening those procedures. The council said it was anticipating that these measures would be instituted in short order.
"The grief that now hangs over the medical community is shared by all Jamaica - a nation that has been tormented by crime and violence for far too long."