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Health ministry probes hospitals’ handling of rape victims

Published:Thursday | June 13, 2019 | 12:08 AM

A panel, comprising representatives from the South East Regional Health Authority and the Southern Regional Health Authority, is to be convened to probe a Sunday Gleaner report that a mother and her two daughters were turned away from one hospital and denied attention for hours at another after being brutally raped.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who assembled the panel, has instructed that a review be done to determine what breaches took place and what action is to be taken.

In a news release Tuesday, the ministry said it “notes with grave concern the recent incident” involving the mother and her two daughters at two health facilities.

The Sunday Gleaner reported that the mother and her two daughters were each raped by gunmen, who broke into their house recently. The females were first escorted by the police to the May Pen Hospital because the facility was deemed to be closest to the St Catherine community where the crime was committed.

However, on reaching the hospital, it is alleged that the police officers were instructed by the doctors on duty to take the victims to Spanish Town Hospital, since the incident happened in St Catherine.

On reaching Spanish Town Hospital, shortly before 2 a.m., the police were allegedly blasted by the doctors in the Accident and Emergency Department for taking the victims in at that hour. A rape kit exam was not done until more than six hours after.

May Pen Hospital CEO St Andrade Sinclair told The Sunday Gleaner that sending the victims to Spanish Town Hospital was a judgement call made by the doctors based on various circumstances.