Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Jack Warner’s alleged possession of medical documents belonging to the UNC’s Chaguanas West by-election candidate Khadijah Ameen was yesterday described as a “disgrace” and “highly unethical.” Putting politics aside, public relations officer for the T&T Medical Association Dr Austin Trinidade said he was appalled when Warner promised to reveal the contents of the medical report.
During a political meeting on Friday, Warner said he would be sending a copy of the report to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar which would question Ameen’s suitability for leadership. Although Ameen shrugged off the claims, saying she does not have a psychiatric disorder, Trinidade said he never thought someone “could have sunk so low to read someone else’s medical report.
He added: “It is highly unethical and I think it is a disgrace that some of these medical records were waved on a political platform and I think that it is very low. “That is someone’s confidential information and as the PRO of the medical association, I am very disconcerted that people’s medical records were waved in the public domain.” Trinidade said the matter would be discussed when the association met tomorrow. He said the only person who was supposed to be in possession of that report was Ameen.
He said the only other reason for someone else to have it was if it was being used for insurance or employment purposes or if she had authorised its release. He added: “First of all, it disappointed me a lot to see the person having these medical records. The only person who is entitled to medical records is the person himself or herself. “Secondly, she may give permission for her medical records to be released, for instance insurance companies and so on. Nobody else is allowed to obtain medical records.
“Under the Freedom of Information Act you can ask for your medical records but nobody else, unless of course you give authorisation to a person and that happens when insurance companies want medical records.”
Trinidade said if Warner did indeed have the reports, it would mean that a medical certificate was created and an employee within the medical, insurance and local government institutions could have leaked it for political or financial gain. He said: “I think it is highly unethical to have someone’s medical records. In Trinidad you can always pay someone.
“There may have been a certificate issued to some government agency and it’s in her file somewhere and some clerk released it, so that is one way. “It could have been insurance and you know she works in the public service and she is in one of the regional corporations so it may have been issued to them. “It is possible that they requested some medical report on her, she submitted it but it is supposed to be confidential.”
He said if true, there were serious legal and ethical implication for the person who leaked the documents. He said: “Confidentiality is one of the tenets of the medical board and all doctors are supposed to hold patients’ records in confidentiality. Warner could not be reached for comment yesterday.