Widow disappointed in EWMSC's treatment of Prof David Picou

Prof Zulaika Ali expresses her disappointment over  the treatment of her husband, Prof David Picou. -
Prof Zulaika Ali expresses her disappointment over the treatment of her husband, Prof David Picou. -

THE widow of renowned doctor and medical researcher Prof David Picou has expressed her disappointment in the nurses at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) for how they treated them in his last days.

Picou, 97, had a week-long decline in his heath before dying on Saturday night at the EWMSC – a facility he helped establish as project manager and chairman of the Mount Hope Medical Complex Task Force between 1978 and 1987.

His widow, Prof Zulaika Ali, described the care he received as "atrocious."

"The nurses in that ward, whoever was on duty, I don't know their names, they have no humanity," she said.

Prof David Picou

"David was responsible for building the whole complex, together with some renovations in the women's hospital. You would expect that although he was 97...at least have some empathy and some humanity in you to make them (elderly patients like Picou) comfortable."

Chief among Ali's issues is the way one nurse demanded that she leave when she tried to visit her husband outside visiting hours. She believes the nurses should be able to tailor this rule to a patient's condition.

"The nurses need training. They need to know what is law and what is a rule, and how to deal with situations when you have a rule and you have a critically ill patient.
"A rule is a rule. It is not a law of the land and you can, within a rule, you can adjust within certain situations."

She also said she received hostile treatment from security when she returned to the ward to get documents stamped for her husband's cremation. She said nurses ignored her when she told them why she was there and when she put the documents on the nurse's desk to find the page that needed stamping, she was accused of trying to steal the stamp and use it herself.

"I am sorry I have ever worked in that complex, to see what it has come to."

Ali said she began working at the Mt Hope Women's Hospital in 1980 as a neonatology lecturer through UWI before leaving in the early 2000s.

Despite this, she said, Picou's doctors were very helpful and professional.

When contacted, North Central Regional Health Authority CEO Davlin Thomas declined to comment.

Picou's most revered work was in the area of malnutrition. Over 60 years ago he led the development of clinical guidelines for the treatment of severely malnourished children in resource-poor countries. This was adopted by the World Health Organization and others for use globally and is credited with having saved the lives of millions of babies, young children and adults.

He was awarded the Chaconia Medal Gold in 2006 for his long and meritorious service in medicine and the Caribbean Institute for Health Research Award in 2019.

He lectured at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National Institutes of Health, was the first Caribbean national and graduate appointed to the post of director of the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit at UWI, Jamaica, and was the first director of research of the Caribbean Health Research Council, among many other achievements.


"Widow disappointed in EWMSC’s treatment of Prof David Picou"

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