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NCRHA slams Guardian over Powell’s cancer and surgery claims; threatens legal action

“The report claims that Michael Powell lost half of his right foot to cancer. Fact: Cancer has not been diagnosed in any patient with that name ‘who lost half of their right foot’ currently being treated by the NCRHA…

“We’ve taken the strong position that this trend of inaccurate reporting towards the NCRHA by the Guardian Newspapers cannot continue, as it creates an inaccurate impression, can damage the public’s confidence in the NCRHA, and seeks to trivialise the significant healthcare gains we have achieved over the past two years.”

The following press statement was issued by the Corporate Communications Unit of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), after a Trinidad Guardian story on Monday 6 August 2018 claimed that ex-Trinidad and Tobago Under-19 cricketer Michael Powell was stricken by cancer, lost part of his right foot and needed an emergency operation after a supposedly botched operation at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex:

Photo: Michael Powell.
(Copyright Shirley Bahadur/Trinidad Guardian)

Yesterday’s Guardian lead story entitled: “Cancer strikes former Under-19 cricketer — Help Me Walk Again,” the reporter made a number of claims that represent such a departure from the truth, that it raises concerns about the intentions of the Guardian newspaper to malign the reputation of the NCRHA.

For example:

  1. The report claims that Michael Powell lost half of his right foot to cancer. Fact: Cancer has not been diagnosed in any patient with that name “who lost half of their right foot” currently being treated by the NCRHA.
  2. The report also claims that Michael Powell requires emergency surgery. Fact: Surgery has not been scheduled for any patient with that name currently being treated by the NCRHA.
  3. The article claims that Mr Powell requires six pints of A+ blood for the surgery. Fact: Blood is not being sought to provide care for any patient with that name currently being treated by the NCRHA.
  4. The report also claims that the NCRHA has a shortage of A+ blood. Fact: The NCRHA did not have a shortage of A+ blood and we continue to have an adequate supply of this blood type. In fact, the NCRHA has recently been engaged in activities that have resulted in increases in our blood donor supplies.
  5. The public should also note that contrary to the report, A+ is not a rare blood type.

In this regard, the NCRHA has written to the Media Complaints Authority regarding the article and the conduct of the Guardian newspaper, and is actively seeking legal advice in response to the latest publication.

Photo: Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.
(Copyright Elections.TT)

We’ve taken the strong position that this trend of inaccurate reporting towards the NCRHA by the Guardian Newspapers cannot continue, as it creates an inaccurate impression, can damage the public’s confidence in the NCRHA, and seeks to trivialise the significant healthcare gains we have achieved over the past two years.

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