HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says only the family of a patient who died at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope last Saturday, can give permission to clear the air on reports claiming the patient committed suicide. Deyalsingh made this point in the Senate on Tuesday.
Because of the patient charter and issues related to patient confidentiality, Deyalsingh said the ministry cannot reveal the facts it has, even under the cover of parliamentary privilege. He explained this can only be done once the patient’s next of kin agrees in writing for the ministry to divulge additional information about the patient.
Once that permission is granted, Deyalsingh said the public can be told what the patient was suffering from and the related treatment. In the absence of that, Deyalsingh said there will continue to be allegations and the ministry has to, “accept that body blow.” In a statement, the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) said around 3.40 am last Saturday and in full view of witnesses inclusive of other patients and staff, the patient in question broke through a glass louvre window to land in the outer corridor of an inpatient ward, after exhibiting violent and aggressive behaviour.
The patient then threw himself over a bannister on the second floor, before nursing and the security team could grab hold of him. The NCRHA said it is seeking legal advice regarding steps which can be taken to stop the further publication of inaccurate statements, which are being made by certain people in the public domain.