Petra Lee Foon, a Trinidad and Tobago resident, teacher, registered voter and, presumably, tax payer, gave birth to six babies at the Mount Hope Women’s Hospital. She went home with four.
Lee Foon was less than thrilled about that fact. She thought mothers were supposed to take home all the babies they delivered.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan was furious at her boldfaced assumption and insisted that Lee Foon and her boyfriend, Kieron Cummings, were the ones who owed the health sector and taxpayers a debt of thanks. Khan called her “ungrateful.”
The State, Khan explained, had spent close to $5 million to purchase equipment for the babies’ aftercare. He did not say whether the equipment was gift-wrapped and sent home with Lee Foon or if it remains at the hospital’s Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the benefit of future mothers.
Nor did Khan say why he felt that Lee Foon and Cummings, as Trinidad and Tobago citizens, were not entitled to a level of care promised by the constitution.
But the Health Minister is not one to allow thought to interrupt when he is speaking.
“I hope (Cummings) doesn’t have a complaint about the house now that he has gotten from the Government,” Khan told the Trinidad Express. “I wonder if he will say that the room is too small, or they need air-conditioning or they need another storey put on.
“Looking at their method of approach to what the health sector did for them and to know what is happening now, sometimes, people have to be grateful in life.”
Last Friday, Cummings and Lee Foon received keys to a three-bedroom Housing Development Corporation (HDC) house in Edinburgh 500 as is also their entitlement as citizens.
There is no evidence to suggest that Khan personally furnished the house with his own money or even popped in with a fruit basket and baby rattle to ask how they were doing.
Presumably, Khan does not know the rights of Trinidad and Tobago nationals.
He continued to boast about his ignorance.
“I think, at the end of the day, when people get things easy, they don’t appreciate it,” said Khan. “Time has come to actually tell the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and, hopefully, the Prime Minister thank you for the house when other people didn’t get it, and thank you for bending over backwards to assist us.”
Did Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar perform a life-saving technique in the delivery that people of Trinidad and Tobago are not aware of? Did she personally write Lee Foon and Cummings a cheque?
Or is the Health Minister demanding that citizens kiss his feet for providing a service paid for by the public’s money?
“Now, at the end of the day, one has to ask: what is the motive (for complaining)?” Khan continued. “Why are they (parents) doing this?”
Mr Live Wire has a hunch. It might be because Lee Foon had six babies and took home four. And maybe she values life more than the Health Minister. Khan is only a doctor after all.
On behalf of the rest of the country, Live Wire offers a sincere apology to Lee Foon and Cummings for their loss and the subsequent callous disregard for their pain.
Considering the frequency of Khan’s visits to the Wired868 Good Morning section, perhaps he should not bother putting his shoes on in the morning. His feet can slip into his mouth quicker that way.
Editor’s Note: Health sector policy dealing with patient care is written in to the “The Patient’s Charter of Rights and Obligations” and not the Constitution as previously stated but subsequently corrected.
Here are some highlights from The Patient’s Charter of Rights and Obligations:
The Patient’s Charter of Rights and Obligations
1. Access to Treatment
1.1 Every individual should be given impartial access to treatment or available lodging or appropriate medical and personal care based on individual needs, without considering his/her race, religion, gender, national origin or social class.
1.2 The right is limited where the service is not reimbursable by public sector or private resources.
1.3 Special consideration must be given to minors, the homeless and persons with disabilities.
2.1 You have the right to receive respectful treatment from providers of health care at all times and under all circumstances.
3. Privacy and Confidentiality
You have a right to privacy with respect to your person and to information, such as is manifested in the following rights:
3.6 The right to expect that all communication and records pertaining to your treatment, including the provision for payment, is treated confidentially.
5. Freedom From Abuse
5.1 You shall be protected from mental, sexual and physical abuse or the intentional and non-therapeutic infliction of physical pain or injury, or any persistent course of conduct intended to produce mental or emotional distress.
7.1 You have the right to receive from the professional responsible for the coordination of your care the complete current information on your diagnosis, treatment alternatives, risks and prognosis. That information should be communicated to you in such a way that you can be expected to understand. When it is not considered medically advisable to give this information to you, that information will be made available to an authorized individual.
7.2 You have the right to know the investigations conducted, the results of these investigations and have them explained.
9.1 You have the right to be informed about and to participate in the decisions related to your health and treatment. Whenever possible, this should be based on a clear and concise explanation of your condition and of all the implicit technical procedures, including the possibilities of any risk of death or serious reactions and of problems related to your recovery and a satisfactory outcome.
9.2 You should not be subjected to any procedure without your voluntary, informed consent, or that of your legally authorized representative. When there are medical alternatives for your treatment you should be informed at all times.
9.5 You should be informed of the aims, methods anticipated, benefits and potential risks of any research study that would affect your health or treatment and any discomfort it may entail. In addition, you have the right to refuse to participate in such activities.
You have the right to file a complaint when you consider your right infringed. You also have the right to have this complaint investigated by the designated officer and the results communicated to you within ten (10) days.
15. Participation in Planning Treatment
15.1 You have the right to participate in the planning of your health care.
15.2 The right includes the opportunity to discuss treatment and alternatives with individual care givers and participate in formal case conferences.
15.3 You have the right to include a family member or other chosen representative in such conferences.