Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Port Maria Hospital operating theatre reopens ... again?

Published:Friday | August 7, 2020 | 12:05 AM


A recent tweet by the minister of health and wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, and carried as a story in the Jamaica Observer of Friday, July 31, 2020, titled ‘Port Maria Hospital operating theatre reopens after almost 30 years’, aptly illustrates the famous statement by Patrick Moynihan: “You are entitled to your own opinion but not entitled to your own facts.”

The minister, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new generator at the hospital, made the comment that the operating theatre was doing surgeries, albeit minor ones, after being closed for almost 30 years.

It is interesting that there was a news story in the same paper which carried an almost similar headline story on Sunday, November 23, 2014, titled ‘A last! Operating theatre reopens at Port Maria Hospital’, reporting on a function which took place a few weeks earlier with the opening by then Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson of the refurbished operating theatre and a new generator commissioning, with the total cost of the refurbishing and the generator amounting to J$31 million, funded by the National Health Fund (NHF).


The CEO of the NHF, who is still in that post, was also present at the occasion, as was myself in the capacity as member of parliament. The Jamaica Information Service also reported on that reopening, which can be accessed in its online archives.

The operating theatre then was also equipped with a top-class operating table, an anaesthetic machine, and an electrocoagulation machine.

Few minor surgeries were performed then by the medical officer in charge of the hospital, Dr Maurice Sloley. With the departure of Dr Sloley, and the further nonappointment of a surgeon, the theatre was not used and NERHA repurposed some of the equipment to other hospitals in the region.

So, to say, as was erroneously done by the minister and published by the Observer, that it is doing its first set of surgeries after being closed for 30 years is patently false, and the records are there to prove that.

It is unfortunate that the minister did not advise himself properly of the facts – this is just to set the record straight.


Member of Parliament

Central St Mary