Dr Navi Muradali has sounded an alarm over the non-working CT scanners at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH).
Saying he agrees with Government’s “all hands on deck” measures against covid19, Muradali added that it must not neglect other issues facing the health care sector.
Muradali, a former mayor of San Fernando, said, “Are we going to neglect other medical issues? Is the hospital going to provide patients with vouchers to have scans done privately? “A scan costs $3,000 to $4,000. This needs to be rectified now!”
In an almost immediate response, the South West Regional Authority (SWRHA) said the problem was expected to be corrected by Tuesday evening. They said a 64-slice CT machine was already in operation.
Manager of the corporate communications unit at SWRHA Kevon Gervais said the tube of a 16-slice CT scan machine needed to be replaced. The expert responsible for replacing it is abroad and cannot enter the country because its borders are closed to fight the covid19 pandemic.
Gervais said this machine had been out of action for the past week and some patients have been referred to other facilities.
Muradali recalled that on Thursday night, he accompanied a friend to the Accident and Emergency Department of SFGH. The friend, Dianne Ali, had found her 64-year-old mother, Hasiena Ali, unresponsive at her home at South Oropouche.
Ambulance personnel took her to the hospital and doctors later asked for a CT scan to rule out a stroke.
But the machines were not working, and staff told relatives the patient would have to be transferred to Couva for one.
They asked about alternatives, Muradali said, and staff suggested they get it done privately.
“Fortunately, the family had the funds to get it done at the Gulf View Medical Centre.
From a medical point of view, a haemorrhagic stroke requires early diagnosis and treatment. Due to the fact there was a long delay, she later died (at SFGH),” Muradali said.
Dianne Ali told Newsday her mother had been taken back to the hospital after the scan.
“I found her unconscious at home. She seemed incoherent and lost consciousness before the ambulance arrived.
“By the time the results reached the hospital, she had too much bleeding in the brain. Mum was on life support until the next morning. She died at 7.45 am on Friday.”
Ali was not angry with staff but knocked the system. She said she wanted other people to be aware of the situation.
“The workers were humane.
“The ambulance workers and doctors were sharing our pain. They were doing their job.
“But the system is broken. The process took unnecessarily long.”
Her mother was cremated on Friday.