Relatives of patients at the Skeldon Public Hospital, Corentyne and a clerk there yesterday morning clashed over alleged preferential treatment at the medication desk and the police had to be called in.
Regional Health Director, Jevaughn Stephens yesterday said he would be meeting with a patient and her relative at the centre of the incident this morning to discuss what transpired.
Stabroek News was told that after the argument escalated the clerk closed the window to the department leaving the line of patients and their relatives unattended for several hours. This then further aggravated patients and their relatives who began to argue with persons attached to the hospital.
The staff then summoned the police who did not immediately respond. However, after receiving a call from the Focal Point Coordinator for the Minister of Public Health, Alex Foster, ranks attached to the Springlands Police Station arrived at the scene and requested that the patient’s relative who was still at the hospital visit the station to give a statement.
A patient’s relative, Sursattie Mangra, also known as “Sharda”, 35, from Number 64 Village, Corentyne relayed that she visited the hospital around 9 am yesterday.
“… there was a very long line, unusual this morning, anyway we went and see the doctor, it didn’t take us like 15 minutes to see the doctor and the line was very long but what we notice is people from the side getting their paper register and the ones at the front nothing and the line keep getting longer”.
According to Mangra she engaged the clerk about what was happening, “She say it get clinic patients and outpatient, but people start talk that in the line is clinic and outpatient patients”.
Mangra said that the clerk told her, “I’m not working here, i’m just assisting”, which led to an argument between the two.
Mangra relayed that the woman who was standing at the front of the line then started to make a video which annoyed hospital staffers.
“When you ask to speak with somebody them say them ain’t know who you got to talk to. We are paying tax in this country it is our right to come here, you can’t come here and be treated like dogs and pigs, most patients went away without registering their prescription, one guy come from since 6 and see doctor and still couldn’t get tablets when I was here”, she explained.
Meanwhile, Mangra said that during the argument the staff then decided to close the department. “I left here five minutes after 12 and it was still closed, and when the patients asked to speak with somebody the security say them ain’t know who”.
Mangra after visiting the Springlands Police Station yesterday told Stabroek News “is because them claim I take some pictures and something, but the officer in charge was very nice”.
When Stabroek News arrived at the hospital at minutes to 1 pm yesterday it was evident that no registering of prescriptions was being done. However, after spotting the media, the staff then urged the line of patients waiting to be registered to enter the department.
Stabroek News attempted to make contact with Dr. Campbell, who is the Doctor in Charge of the Skeldon Hospital, however, a staffer said that Dr. Campbell and the administrator were off yesterday. Asked her name, the person who said she was in charge refused to introduce herself to the media who were gathered at this time.
But the heated exchanges did not end there as a maid attached to the hospital began to hurl insults at the patients saying that they were “disgusting”. The female maid said at the top of her voice, “I don’t care let them (media) hear me, them patients disgusting and always talking thing and ready to call in media”.
While Stabroek News was speaking to the woman who said she was in charge, the maid continued her tirade while traversing the entire compound. The hostility to the media and the patients and their relatives who complained was evident yesterday.
Foster in an invited comment explained that “the girl who normally register the patients on a daily basis reported sick this morning and to continue to deliver the service that was expected at the facility to members of the public, one of the officers who has administration duties was asked to go across and help”.
Foster said that since the clerk is not attached to that specific department she was a bit slower in “recording the information” which led to a buildup of persons.
He said that he was told that a relative of a patient started to question the clerk “and started to take out her camera and flashing her and videoing her and talking to them in not a normal manner and the clerk asked her to stop flashing and harassing her so she could continue to do her work”.
Foster said that the staff at that time felt threatened since other relatives and patients supposedly joined in, and as such the police were summoned.
“According to them the police did not respond, so they ask me if I can call the police and I did and the police said they are going to see if the matter is beyond control”.
Asked if the security guards attached to the hospital were present at the time, Foster said yes but that “they could not have handled the situation”.
Foster noted that a team will be visiting the hospital tomorrow to conduct an investigation.