Why was the practicing privileges of the doctor suspended after he spoke of the many problems, that he encountered at the San Fernando General Hospital? Is it that the SWRHA is attempting to silence him in the hope that the issues he highlighted are not brought to light?
Dr. Mayer spoke of only two emergency operating rooms being staffed during the Christmas Week, the two running on Christmas Monday and just one the remainder of the week. Why was this so? Is this normal practice that is sanctioned by management?
It is noted that whilst there are were only six ICU beds available at the SFGH, provisions were made years ago at the Couva Children’s Hospital for additional adult and pediatric ICU beds. The question is why are these ICU and other beds at the Couva Children’s Hospital are not being utilized for the benefit of sick and ailing citizens.
If this wasn’t bad enough, Dr. Mayer highlighted a very backward practice of operating room staff not wearing face masks while performing surgeries. Why are these unsafe practices being allowed by the leadership of the South West Regional Health Authority?
In addition, he spoke of the flood of patients who were waiting for weeks and months for urgent surgeries for life threatening conditions such as spinal cord injuries, and brain tumors.
In spite of all of these issues, Dr. Mayer highlighted the issue of several staff members not showing up for work on Christmas Day. This could have led to possible substandard care for the hundreds of sick patients in the institution during this period. His observation that “patients simply being left to die, become paralyzed and go blind from treatable diseases as a result of negligence” is frightening and demands urgent attention.
Why is management allowing basic rules and regulations to be openly flaunted at the expense of the health and safety of the patients? It also raises the question of whether the chronic shortage of supplies and equipment in the health sector under this government is contributing to the demotivation and demoralization of those doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff charged with providing healthcare within the SWRHA?
The issue in the delay of procurement for the replacement of the light bulb for the operating microscope that was highlighted again by Dr Mayer is only one of the many instances of challenges frequently voiced by our local doctors and nurses at the SFGH.
Incidentally, the South West Regional Health Authority under the watch of the Minister of Health has changed the Chief Executive Officer four times in the past four years. One has to wonder whether these issues are arising because of poor governance and lack of oversight at the level of the board and senior management of the SWRHA?
The latest move by the South West Regional Health Authority to suspend the visiting rights of Dr. Peter Mayer shows a desperate attempt to cover up the failings of management. They are attempting to shoot the messenger as they continue to hide the many unsafe and high-risk practices that seem to have become the norm at the San Fernando General Hospital with patients paying the ultimate price.
The SWRHA has a duty to investigate these revelations made by Dr. Mayer instead of trying to silence him.
I am calling on the Minister of Health to investigate these complaints urgently instead of allowing the SWRHA board to sweep this complaint under the carpet at the risk of the wellbeing of the public.