HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh declared there must be no conflict of interest with consultant surgeons doing orthopaedic surgeries. Speaking in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Deyalsingh said he was the one “who blew the whistle” on this issue in his contribution to last year’s budget debate in the House.
Recalling that he saw the list of directors of the companies involved in providing orthopaedic implants, Deyalsingh said what he saw made him cringe.
The directors, “are the same surgeons operating on the patient,” Deyalsingh said. These surgeons, Deyalsingh continued, “tell you which company to buy from.” He said if a patient refuses to buy an implant from a particular company, the surgeon would refuse to operate on the patient. This prompted Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh to claim that “an orthopaedic mafia” could be at work.
Deyalsingh said this practice has been ongoing for decades. He claimed it was happening since the 1950’s, when his mother told him it cost $5 for a bed at the Port of Spain General Hospital.
Under his watch, Deyalsingh pledged, “It has to stop.”