A senior doctor has come under heavy criticism for an "extremely distasteful" Facebook post on Thursday about junior medical/ surgical trainees.
An online petition has since been created, demanding a "formal apology" from her.
The post, which has been making the rounds on social media, quoted the surgeon as saying if they are unhappy with working long hours and facing the pressures of the job, junior doctors are free to leave.
The comments have not sat well with many of her colleagues as well as social media users, especially as police found the body of a doctor in his car on Wednesday in Mayaro. Dr Amrit Ramdass, of Chaguanas, is believed to have died by suicide.
Both the surgeon and Ramdass, a junior doctor, worked at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope.
The surgeon's post did not identify anyone by name.
Part of it read, "If you are in a relationship (private or professional) that is not conducive to your mental health... LEAVE.
"Bottom line: Do not pretend to be a victim in a field that you are free to leave at any time. You are an adult, and that was your choice."
In another post, a few hours later, at about 9.25 pm, the senior doctor apologised to anyone who had misunderstood the context of her previous post.
"My discussion about working in a stressful environment has unfortunately been completely taken out of context," the later post said. "Many have assumed that this was directed at a specific colleague we have lost from within the department or a lack of sensitivity to the mental health impact on so many of our staff (medical and nursing). But your assumptions are all wrong."
She said the original post was generated as a statement that it is the system juniors have to work within and the nature of hospital medicine that has created the majority of work stress for junior doctors.
She said, "It is a very stressful environment demanding long, exhausting hours and many sacrifices."
"I do not in any way condone the mistreatment, bullying, or abuse of any staff members (junior doctors, nursing staff etc)."
"Surgery Juniors" started the petition on Thursday evening.
On Friday at 4.20 pm, it had gathered 2,500 of the targeted 5,000 online signatures.
The creators said they were deeply disturbed by the recent loss of their colleague Dr Ramdass. The senior doctor’s statement, they said, added insult to that injury, coming less than a full day after the tragic news.
"This poorly-timed and callous vitriol should never be spoken or written, much less by a senior and experienced colleague. She should know better. She should do better. We insist that she must do better," the petition said.
A Facebook post at 8.21 pm on Thursday from the TT Medical Association (TTMA) said it was aware of "disparaging and vitriolic social media reports made by a senior member of our profession."
TTMA said it wholeheartedly and strongly condemned such attitudes as they neither serve nor support its fraternity.
"As we continue to mourn the loss of so many of our own, we fully support all doctors, junior and senior, as they hold the health system together during this pandemic," the post said. "It is imperative that we recognise that both systemic and personal growth will be better achieved through a supportive environment for all health care workers."
Police found Ramdass’s body at 11 am on Wednesday in the driver’s seat of his car at Bon Espoire Road, Mayaro, near the beach. It had been parked there since Tuesday at around 5 pm.
Police said there were several syringes on the floor of the front passenger seat.
Up to Friday, an autopsy had not been done.
Newsday was unable to contact Ramdass’s relatives.