PPP/C MP Harry Gill on Wednesday formally complained to the Medical Council of Guyana (MCG) against three doctors in the matter where former Region Five councillor Carol Joseph was accused of abusing her authority to enable access to medication she should not have been using.
Gills’ complaint to the MCG is expected to trigger a formal investigation against the three doctors and could lead to hearings for disciplinary action. Hearings could also provide a basis for a broader investigation about what transpired with Joseph’s medication and the period over which she had access to them. The letter was sent to MCG Chairman Dr Navindranauth Rambarran.
Joseph resigned from the Region Five council on April 21 this year, two days after Stabroek News reported on her alleged abuse of medication. The matter had been drawn to the public’s notice by Gill after Nurse Sherlyn Marks reported to him that her complaints to senior medical officials about the Joseph case had been ignored. Marks was abruptly transferred by the Region Five Regional Executive officer Ovid Morrison after the news item on Joseph’s case appeared in Stabroek News. Morrison’s transfer of the nurse has been condemned and there have been calls it to be rescinded. Thus far, neither the Ministry of Public Health nor the Ministry of Communities has launched any investigation of this matter.
In his letter to the MCG, which was seen by Stabroek News, Gill lodged complaints against Regional Health Officer of Region Five, Dr Steven Cheefoon, Dr Ivelaw Sinclair and Dr Adrian Van Nooten.
Gill pointed out in the letter to the MCG that Nurse Marks had written on December 13, 2016 to then Minister of Public Health, Dr George Norton on the matter. In that letter, Marks had she was being harassed and intimidated by Joseph because of the complaint she had lodged with Dr Chefoon about the medication. Marks also sent her letter to a number of other regional and health officials who did nothing about it.
In his letter to the MCG, Gill notes that the Medical Practitioners (Code of Conduct and Standards of Practice) Regulations 2008 – Responsibilities to Patients, Regulation 7- paragraph (5) states: “A medical practitioner shall not expose his patients to risks which may arise from a compromise of their own health status (e.g. dependence on alcohol or other drugs, HIV infection, hepatitis and the like).” In addition, Regulation 36- paragraph (11) reads: “The Medical Council may regard the prescription or supply of drugs of dependence otherwise than in the course of bona fide treatment as a serious professional misconduct.”
Gill urged that the MCG conduct the investigation, in keeping with its own Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, to protect the integrity of the medical profession.