“[…] Thus far, there have been over 260 Covid-19 related deaths in this month of May alone, out of a total of 440 during this pandemic. This is one of the worst incidences of Covid-19 related deaths globally per million population.
“Citizens of T&T, especially those who have lost their loved ones to Covid-19, deserve to have a comprehensive understanding and satisfaction as to what has really happened—if only for their peace of mind and mental closure…”
The following press statement on the Trinidad and Tobago’s high rate of Covid-19 related deaths was issued by former MP and cabinet minister and senior gynaecological oncologist Dr Tim Gopeesingh:
The unacceptable, alarming daily increase in Covid-19 related deaths in Trinidad and Tobago warrants immediate attention from the honourable prime minister and minister of health.
Thus far, there have been over 260 Covid-19 related deaths in this month of May alone, out of a total of 440 during this pandemic. This is one of the worst incidences of Covid-19 related deaths globally per million population.
This sudden increase brings into focus serious questions which must be answered by the minister of health. It is incumbent on him to immediately and urgently commission an independent audit into the deaths of Covid-19 patients, particularly for the month of May 2021.
This audit should be conducted by a team of independent, qualified, experienced medical practitioners and legal experts, and should specifically probe and examine the following issues:
- Whether there is any correlation of these Covid-19 deaths to the questionable recent transfer of six highly qualified, competent and experienced physicians (consultants) at the Couva Hospital and the overall alleged disastrous management decisions of the NCRHA CEO and Medical Director.
- Has the quality of patient care at the Couva Hospital therefore, been severely compromised, with deadly consequences to innocent Covid-19 infected patients?
- Whether these intensive care units (ICUs) (six at Couva in the Paediatric Tower, none in the Adult Tower, six at the Augustus Long Hospital interchangeable with high dependency unit (HCU) beds, four in Arima, four in Caura and none in Point Fortin—approximately 20 ICU beds) are sufficient, with properly equipped and functioning ventilators for the sudden increase in patients requiring ventilatory life-saving support and management.
- Whether there are appropriate pharmaceuticals, instruments, related electronic and mechanical equipment and laboratory facilities readily available for the emergency management of these critically ill patients.
- Whether there are sufficient nursing, medical and paramedical professionals to effectively and efficiently manage the ICU patients.
- With the transfer out of the six most senior, experienced physicians, whether the seriously needed expertise and clinical competence of the replacement physicians is present, for these severely ill patients.
Therefore, has the quality of patient-care at the intensive care units in the various hospitals been severely compromised resulting in deadly consequences to innocent citizens?
It is simply unacceptable [that] at this critical deadly state of the Covid-19 crisis in Trinidad & Tobago, there are only 24 intensive care unit beds with functioning ventilators in the parallel health care system. This is one of the worst figures (per capita population) for any developing country.
How many ICU admissions have there been during this pandemic, and how many patients survived, must be answered. Where did these unfortunate 440 Covid-19 patients die? ICUs, tents, homes, or whilst being transported?
It is noteworthy that specially commissioned audits into sudden and questionable increases in deaths at public and private health institutions are in keeping with international best practice, for example, in Britain, there is a government-appointed team for confidential enquiry into every maternal death.
Here we have over 440 Covid-19 deaths, which are just calmly reported as patients being old or middle-aged, with or without co-morbidities. How callous and insensitive!
Citizens of T&T, especially those who have lost their loved ones to Covid-19, deserve to have a comprehensive understanding and satisfaction as to what has really happened—if only for their peace of mind and mental closure—in this particularly traumatic period of our nation’s history.
It is their just due, since no one has surrendered their constitutional rights to what should be an effective, functioning and accountable public health system that justly and equitably serves the entire population during this deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read response from NCRHA CEO Davlin Thomas, and the counter to that from TTRNA president Idi Stuart.
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