Pensioner Deosaran Sinanan, 69, fears he may go blind before he gets surgery to remove cataracts at the Scarborough General Hospital, because the equipment to do the operation has not been working for months now.
Manager of corporate communications at the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) Marie-Antoinette Mora confirmed to Newsday Tobago that the equipment to do Sinanan’s eye surgery was out of action.
“The machine in question is usually used to do cataract surgery and retinal surgery. At present, it is not functioning as required and we are experiencing some delays in conducting the repairs,” Mora said on Friday. She could not say how soon the machine would be fixed, saying it was expected to be in “the shortest possible time.”
Sinanan, who lives alone in Canaan, said in an interview last Thursday at Newsday Tobago's Shirvan Plaza office that he was totally fed up with the run-around he has been getting since it was confirmed that he has cataracts in both eyes and needed correctional surgery. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Cataracts are common in older people, and can occur in either or both eyes.
“I have been a patient of the eye clinic (at Scarborough General Hospital) since it was up at the fort in Scarborough. So, I always attended the clinic and (doctors at the eye clinic) were the ones who discovered that there was a cataract problem with my eyes about eight months ago. They did all the necessary tests in Tobago. There was one, the biometric test, that they had no machine for and they sent me to Trinidad in June to get it done and bring back the report, so they could set up a date for the operation,” he said.
He did this, and said he went back to the hospital, only to be told the machine was not working.
“I waited another three months. I heard nothing from them, so I made it my business to visit. I would go in from time to time to check, call them on the phone, all to find out when the surgery would be done, and every time I go I would hear, ‘The machine is down, Mr Sinanan, we would call you.’ I waited and waited and waited and it is the same thing.”
He said he decided to see if he could get the surgery done at elsewhere and asked for his medical records from the hospital’s eye clinic.
“I don’t have the money, but at least I have to try to see if I could help myself.
“I told them to give me the medical reports that they have, and I would try to see if I could get it done on the outside. I asked them at the hospital if I could get at least a copy of my medical records and they told me that I would have to fill out a form applying to the Medical Chief of Staff for the information. This I did.
“Since then, I have heard nothing, I have not even received an acknowledgement.
"As a result, I visited the hospital many times thereafter and the response I am getting is that the machine still isn’t fixed, and they say they have no authorisation from the Medical Chief of Staff to give me my information.”
Sinanan said with his sight worsening, he has had to reduce his daily activities.
“I cannot drive at nights, so by 6pm, I must be in my house. I live alone, and this is really hampering me.
"They (hospital officials) cannot even give me an idea as to when this machine will be repaired. Will it be a year’s time, two years, three years? They cannot answer me. My eyes are getting worse. What do I do next? I do not know. Where do I go from here? I do not know,” he said.