Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Call for CRH security beef-up after ward stormed

Published:Wednesday | April 27, 2022 | 12:10 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Dr Derek Harvey, senior medical office at Cornwall Regional Hospital.
Dr Derek Harvey, senior medical office at Cornwall Regional Hospital.


The storming of a medical ward by men demanding the release of a patient has sparked calls for the ramping up of security at Cornwall Regional Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department.

Dr Derek Harvey, senior medical officer, said on Tuesday that meetings have been ongoing for the installation of a police liaison assigned to the western Jamaica hospital in the event of emergency situations.

Anxiety heightened after approximately 15 people pressed clinical staff to discharge 25-year-old diabetic patient Tyrone Bromfield into their care “because he does not have a medical condition but was infected with demons”. Hospital staff reportedly received threats.

In a Gleaner interview shortly after the incident, the senior medical officer said the police liaison would be tasked with intervening in cases like Tuesday’s stand-off.

Discussions had already been in the pipeline because of the massive construction project under way for the overhaul of Cornwall.

Broomfield, who hails from Mt Horeb, St James, was released into the care of his mother, Joan Wilson, before the situation escalated, the police said. He was reportedly being taken for spiritual healing.

Harvey said that the security breach was not unprecedented but expressed concern that staff were overwhelmed by the sheer number of agitators. He is increasingly worried about the coarsening of values that will creep into staff facilities.

“Not only will these things happen outside the hospital, but within the hospital,” he argued.

Harvey said security cameras have been installed and private security ramped up.

The senior medical officer is concerned about the trauma staff may have suffered on Tuesday but denied claims that weapons were drawn or that anyone was injured.

That statement was confirmed by Senior Superintendent Vernon Ellis, commander of the St James Police Division.

“When you have incidents like these, which are not necessarily unique to Cornwall Regional, persons tend to be traumatised, because as clinical staff, your role is to give the benefit you can to any person you treat,” he told The Gleaner.

“When you are working in circumstances, as with anybody in Jamaica, when there is an episode where one feels threatened within their environment, with the fact that you are overwhelmed by the number of persons, coming into an already crowded space, it will shake you up a bit,” he added.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health & Wellness has launched an investigation into the incident.