Home / Live Wire / Khan you be quiet: Health Minister adds insult to injury for sextuplet family

Khan you be quiet: Health Minister adds insult to injury for sextuplet family

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.”

Photo: Wait... What did the doctor say about my mother?!
Photo: Wait… What did Dr Khan say about my mother?!

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.”

Photo: Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan (right) seems to like what he is smelling from business Ish Galbaransingh, who is fighting attempts by the US Government to extradite him for corrupt practices.  Khan certainly knows who to lecture about enjoying State resources. (Courtesy Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan (right) seems to like what he is smelling from businessman Ish Galbaransingh, who is fighting attempts by the US Government to extradite him for corrupt practices.
Khan certainly knows who to lecture about enjoying State resources.
(Courtesy Trinidad Guardian)

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. Respect

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. Information

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. Consent

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.

13. Complaints

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.

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  1. BTW if the Government had not been politicking they would have engaged Dr. Manning whose skill and expertise in this area is legendary….but they chose to do PR, pat themselves on the back and politic!!

  2. He was disrespectful and grossly inappropriate for revealing the couple’s medical history in order to open them to public ridicule that he might justify piss poor and below standard care…..they got a home which they are paying a mortgage for and they did not ask to be pappy showed by the government….and they had a right to demand better because their babies were dying…Rhoda Bharath if u are editing your list and this isn’t on it can I humbly suggest this and the murder and attempted cover up of the caesarian baby where yet another couple’s medical history was revealed to vilify them and move focus away from the state of our healthcare especially?….

  3. Well, I don’t feel the way he spoke to the parents was appropriate at all considering their grief. But that’s my take on it.

  4. Sean we’re in 2014 not 1960. If one wants a Child/Children badly enough i see no reason why they cannot use modern technology to achieve their aim and why should they be treated differently. They’re not the first and they certainly won’t be the last. I have Friends who will make fantastic Parents who have tried everything possible including fertility procedures to have a Child to no avail and my heart breaks for them. This young Couple are one of the lucky ones and am sure have been paying their taxes like everyone else so why should they be treated any different.

  5. very sad day in Trinidad … shame on a man who is suppose to care … proves to me that he dont …. one other reason why they won’t win the next election

  6. i’m sorry for the pain of the loss of this young couple, but i really think one must be terribly careful in intervening into Nature’s processes by way of the use of fertility drugs. i think when ppl OPT to take chances with their bodies by undertaking ELECTIVE procedures (not mandatory treatment such as heart surgery) this should not be done with any feeling of entitlement of the State footing the bill when things go wrong. I apologize if i sound harsh, but these medical procedures are very technically tricky, and the outcome can be very costly.

  7. what is great is next year when the PNM get in there will be no box drains to annoy anyone, in fact, in keeping with their record there will be nothing to annoy anyone with..#can’twait.

  8. Well I had agreed with him that the parents were careless so we were on same page here but on NOTHING else

  9. As usual well written Lasana and straight up. These bunch of bufoons we have to put up with on a daily basis. Why doesn’t he go and investigate the cocaine pellets in some “big boy” stomach instead of picking on a young couple? They all act as though they’re doing us a favour every time they build a box drain, road etc as though we should be grovelling at their feet for what is our right as tax paying citizens. But then again they and their “friends” own the treasury. Wish he would get permanent laryngitis. In fact i wish all of them could get it. Steups!!

  10. for all those who are arguing the point of having a 5 million dollar favor done to the parents, why don’t you use common sense and a little investigative skills and find out what was purchased at the cost of 5 mil and where is it located and who is benefiting from it currently. if it can be proven that monies were used to purchase equipment for these people, why weren’t they available before? why weren’t the available for so many babies that passed through the neonat icu and died?
    come on people be real. Our culture is heartbreaking because everyone wants to be a critic, judge and jury. i assume those of you who are condemning the couple are pretty little angels and your life is completely in order? hope u can tell it to Jesus when that BIG day comes along. for far too long babies have been dying easily at public institutions and no one has the heart to come out and speak up against it. i guess we can now see why no one has before.
    there is a claim that the hospitals are operating at international standards as mentioned by a health care professional on i95 but yet the mortality rate is so high… why? because the babies are premature right? they deserve to die?
    people get your minds right. the hospitals are overcrowded and most equipments are outdated. why are you not concerned about your taxpayer’s money in this case? millions are allocated each year to the health sector yet nothing major is done. however dollars are being pumped into a hos in Couva while the existing and much needed hospitals are lacking in every possible way. open your eyes people!

  11. I think Mr Khan went overboard with his statements,but the father’s statement was unfair,all health workers did their best.

    • Nicole Philip Greene

      So the question is – did the father say the health workers did not do their best? Did he say he was not thankful for all that had been done, with what was available?

  12. if it was east Indian parents we would of had a national holiday….! yes i said it…!

    • Well, let me say that I haven’t seen anything whatsoever to suggest any racial bias in this matter. And I do believe the hospital made a special effort for the couple. I would love the health sector to be able to give top care to everyone at every time… But I do not think this case has anything to do with race.

  13. I have mixed views with respect to the house, however as tax payers there are certain entitlements, proper health care being one of them. My interpretation on Mr Khan’s foolish utterances says to me, if on any given day twenty babies are born at the hospital, worst case scenario six are premature or faced with other serious issues, then it is catered for that two will die. Mr Khan is playing smart with foolishness. As a father, a supposed leader, a Minister mandated to deliver quality health care, as well as a HUMAN BEING, where is yours sense of sympathy and taking a humanistic approach on this issue. The world is cycle Mr Khan, i wish you all the best.

  14. Those unmarried people who were both living at home with their respective parents were idle enough to take fertility treatments and ended up having 6 babies.

    Instead of going to a private nursing home to deliver their children they placed that burden on the State. Yes every citizen is entitled to free healthcare but don’t criticize it when you also have the option of going to a private institution.

    The State also provided these ungrateful people with a home that so many other citizens have been waiting years for….

    Get out of your parents house first, then get married and have your children under your own roof. Too many people are populating the country and draining the resources by looking for handouts.

    • At least someone was brave enough to admit this.

    • Janelle Archie-Alleyne

      It amazes me how ignorance in this country is bliss. The Government is supposed to provide the necessary equipment to efficiently run the nations hospitals. It seems to me that the birth of the sextuplets has done future babies a favour, where they may get a fighting chance to live, if born premature.

      Mr Cummings and Ms. Lee Foon are entitled to all services afforded to all citizens, especially since they are valid taxpayers. What about all the ‘unwed’ mothers who are unemployed, many on state welfare (an added burden to my tax dollar) who are also affored the same services as ‘we’ who are legit taxpayers.

      Whether the couple is unmarried and living in their parents home is irrelevant, because many young persons are having children out of wedlock and still in their parents house. Not that ist is morally right, but is what’s happening in societies throughout the world. Who are ‘we’ to judge?

      As for planning to have six babies as people are saying, who in their right mind plans for this? Ms. Lee Foon was being treated for a condition using a fertility drug, Trinis like to cast too many aspersions.

      At the end of the day, Ms. Lee Foon and Mr. Cummings are the ones who have to shoulder the burden of raising these babies, NOT the State.

      Such a wonderful thing as the birth of this Country’s first sextuplets inclusive of the Caribbean Region, and people choose to turn this into a fiasco. My prayers go out to the family and especially baby Persia who is still in NICU at the Mt. Hope Hospital.

      God above all.

      • Well said, Janelle. We should bear in mind too that free health, education and housing does not depend on if someone likes you or thinks you’re a nice person. You need only be a Trinidad and Tobago national and it is your right.

      • Janelle please spare us the justification. This woman willingly took fertility treatments and ended up with 6 babies. Did she have her tubes tied after? I’m guessing no. These people were unprepared to have children and from the looks of it they had no intentions of building a life together. They simply got a free ride because they had 6 babies at once.

        It is foolish to spend money on fertility treatments when you have no money for rent. Selfish to live in your parents home and bring 6 lives into the world at once. But kudos to them for knowing how to work the system.

        • Gosh, people can be so insensitive!
          At a time when I was desperate to have a child I took fertility treatments. Note that I wanted ONE child, but I could easily have ended up with a multiple pregnancy. If that had happened what should I have done? Terminate? Perhaps never have a child at all?
          A person who takes fertility drug is not saying “Gee, I hope that I get six for one”! Rather, the thought is “I do hope that I can finally hold a child in my arms, a product of my body and the man I have chosen as a father”.
          No matter how you disagree with their views, please do not condemn a couple for trying to enjoy what so many persons take for granted, the privilege of parenthood.

    • Duuuuuhhhhhhhhhh...

      Even though they may have had the money to go to a private institution for the delivery, it is health law in T&T that once complications develop the patient MUST be taken to a general hospital in there case Mt. Hope. It was due to her unique prenatal condition this institution was selected for the delivery. Indeed is was due to the LAW of the land and not only their choice that they did not go to a private medical institution.

      • So true!

        I was going to have my baby at a private hospital until I was told that with the complications I developed during pregnancy I should go to San Fernando General Hospital’s (SFGH) antenatal clinic and have them do my C-Section. In fact I was told that if I chose to do it privately and any problems developed I will be rushed to the General Hospital. Another expectant mother was rushed to SFGH from a nearby private hospital after she started hemorrhaging badly after her child was delivered.

        Furthermore, I thought that all citizens, including newborns, have the right to the best possible medical care from our public health system? Does that change because the parents chose to use fertility drugs? Or because the parents do not live in the same house? With the skyrocketing cost of house and land, it is difficult for even two-income couples to afford a decent home. Get real people!

      • They had no money to go to a private hospital anyway. Up until she delivered those babies they were living separately. These are just two immoral people who want handouts and then spit on the hand that provided.

      • Interestingly, did Health Minister Fuad Khan himself violate the Patient’s Charter?
        3. 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

  15. Well said…..the way this health minister getting on is like he is doing this family such a big favor and going out of his way to do all what he did…..as if the government bought 5 millon dollars in equipment for them to make 6 babies alone. All this is just a publicity stunt, these politicians need to grow up and be big men and women. stop with the long talk and do what they are required to do. (Work for the people)

    • Stop speaking rubbish, the Ministry of Health did them a $5 million dollar favour.

      Why didn’t they make their babies in a private hospital?
      They didn’t choose a private hospital because they couldn’t afford it.
      Yet they could afford fertility treatments.

      These people don’t have their priorities in order.

    • how are you enjoying your free house?

      • Nicole Philip Greene

        The free house they are paying rent for until they can purchase?

        “Moonilal said he had met with Cummings, a bank employee, a month ago to discuss the family’s housing needs. He said the family would receive the home at a cost of $375,000. “The family will be able to move in with a licence to occupy and can later follow the procedure for full purchase,” Moonilal said. A licence to occupy will allow the couple to move into the home immediately and pay rent until the time comes to purchase.”