The appointment of a five member committee by Prime Minister Rowley to investigate the standards of Covid-19 health care and conditions at the nation’s hospitals is nothing short of a scam and blatant attempt to hoodwink the population.
It shows that he has finally bowed to the significant, ongoing pressure placed on him by the Opposition Leader, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, from since June 2021, to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into his Government’s outright failure to properly manage the Coronavirus pandemic, which has thus far led to the tragic deaths of over 3,000 citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Yet this desperate response is simply inadequate. It is a cosmetic attempt to address the most serious national health crisis in our country’s history, which is entirely of the Rowley Government’s own making.
Rowley has given this Covid-19 Committee only one week to investigate and report on their findings. This is simply ridiculous, nonsensical and disrespectful to the public and especially the families of Covid victims. Seven days is not enough time for this team to properly investigate the reasons behind the ongoing, fatal mismanagement at the five designated Covid-19 hospitals throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
To do this, the five member team would need to:
- Don Personal Protective Gear and conduct in person, thorough visits to all the Intensive Care Units (ICUs), High Dependency Units (HDUs), Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments and the Emergency tents of each of the five Covid-19 hospitals
- Conduct a deep and thorough analysis of the medical and nursing staff in each HDU and ICU department, each Emergency Tent and every A&E department of each hospital to determine:
- How many doctors, nurses and supporting medical personnel are present on each shift
- The qualification and specialist experience level of the nurses on call
- How many junior doctors are present during each shift
- How many senior doctors in fact go into these areas and conduct examinations of the Covid-19 patients alongside the Junior Doctors
- Why is there an absence of medical personnel from these three critical departments
- Thoroughly examine the availability or the absence of particularly life-saving drugs and even basis drugs like Remdevisir, Tocilizumab, Dexamethazone, Methylprednisolone, antibiotics and anticoagulants
- Examine what level care and concern, if any, is being given to the 16,000 (at most times) Covid positive patients who are at home, many dying as a result of no treatment
- Provide the statistics of the mortality rates in the HDUs, ICUs, Emergency tents and A&E Departments of each hospital, as well as state how many people have actually been saved in the ICUs
- Do a critical analysis of the ambulance service as to how long it takes an ambulance, when called, to get to the home of the patient and transfer them to the hospital; how many patients have died in the ambulances; the reasons they die; and why are there not more ambulances in the system.
- Determine why Dr Trotman alone is charged with the power to decide where to take patients who are in the emergency tents and A&E, as well as determine which ambulance goes to specified destination.
- Conduct detailed interviews with a decent percentage of the families of Covid patients who have died in the ambulances, tents and A&E departments, as well as at their homes, ensuring that these families/Covid-19 patients come from all key geographical areas of Trinidad and Tobago.
- Comprehensively and critically examine the patient notes of particularly the last 2000 patients who have died, to determine what is really going on in the failed, dangerous parallel health care system in Trinidad and Tobago.
The fact remains that if Rowley’s Covid-19 Investigative Committee is to be successful, credible, effective and meaningful in their examination of this significant national issue, they cannot complete such a vast mandate in just seven days. They must demand more time to execute their mandate.
Meanwhile, PM Rowley must still appoint a Commission of Inquiry into all aspects—financial, social and health—of his Government’s entire handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Further, he has failed to take the most crucial action of all in this issue—to fire the failed, incompetent Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, and the equally incompetent, failed NCRHA CEO, Davlin Thomas.
Such unqualified political hacks have no place in the management of the country’s health system at any time, but especially during the deadliest health crisis in our nation’s history.
Dr Tim Gopeesingh
Senior Gynaecological Oncologist
Former MP and Cabinet Minister