Doctor Warn


Doctors warn

Say interdicted colleague must be reinstated

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator — Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

 What your doctor shouldn’t be saying to you

SENIOR doctors at St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital could take action if a decision isn’t taken today to reinstate their interdicted colleague Dr Derrick McDowell, who is also the team doctor for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz football squad.

McDowell’s interdiction is expected to come up for discussion today at a regularly scheduled meeting of the board of the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), the same board that interdicted him on October 6.

“If, at the end of the meeting, Dr McDowell isn’t reinstated, [the doctors] will take the matter in hand,” a source close to the situation and who opted for anonymity told the Jamaica Observer last night.

According to the source, the senior doctors could take action that would result in the disruption of normal functions at the hospital. “If this happens, the hospital would close down,” said the source.

McDowell’s orthopaedic clinic alone conducts dozens of surgeries per week as well as tends to a few hundred patients, the Observer was told.

The doctors, 18 senior specialists, had signed a letter dated October 7 to the NERHA, calling for the immediate reinstatement of McDowell, who was interdicted and his pay slashed by half over allegations that he failed to treat a patient who had been admitted to the hospital in September with broken bones.

The orthopaedic surgeon was informed of his interdiction on October 5 by way of letter from Regional Director Fabia M Lamm. In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Observer, Lamm informed McDowell that he was being interdicted for not treating patient Conroy Simpson, who had been involved in a motor vehicle crash.

Lamm noted that Simpson was sent to Cornwall Regional Hospital on September 29 but was sent back to St Ann due to a shortage of beds. According to Lamm’s letter, Simpson was subsequently sent back to Cornwall Regional.

Lamm told McDowell he was being sent home pending a full investigation into the matter.

But a source said that McDowell had no choice but to transfer Simpson due to safety concerns for the doctors and nurses at St Ann’s Bay Hospital. However, the source said that Simpson was transferred after his broken hands and a foot were placed in plaster of Paris and he was treated.

According to the source, up to the time of him being transferred he hadn’t purchased the metal implants for his surgery.

In the October 7 letter from McDowell’s colleagues to Human Resources Director G Fenton-Rose, the doctors said: “We are extremely concerned about the decision to interdict Dr McDowell, not only in regard to the apparent haste and lack of due process, but also given the serious implication that this will have for the individual, the medical staff collectively, the orthopaedic services and the overall reputation of the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital.”

The doctors pointed out that the allegations against McDowell did not rise to a level warranting interdiction.

They said that medical officers have a right to refuse treatment as long as other arrangements are made for the patient to be treated, “the only exception to this right being emergency treatment to save life and stabilise a patient”.

The doctors said, too, that Simpson had received treatment from the orthopaedics team up until the point of his transfer.

In addition to calling for McDowell’s reinstatement, the doctors called for a meeting with Fenton-Rose and other senior administrators to discuss the “broader issues of security of health care personnel, complaints and disciplinary procedures and communication raised by this unfortunate incident”.

 

According to and Courtesy of  Jamaica Observer