Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 1st 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
POST YOUR VIEWS ON ANY OF TODAY'S STORIES @ WWW.GUARDIAN.CO.TT
Saturday, November 1, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen
Williams says the investigation into the removal
of the 17 cocaine pellets from a patient by a
doctor during a surgery last December remains
He also yesterday said police had not yet ruled
out the possibility of charging the doctor involved.
Speaking in a telephone interview, Williams
also revealed he never said the investigation was
closed and assured the police probe is still ongo-
ing. He refused to comment on allegations that
the doctor was threatened at gunpoint to conduct
He suggested that the Guardian speak with
the doctor about what transpired in the operation,
since "I cannot speak to what you are speaking
But Williams contended that the police could
only act on what they had before them.
"I have to speak to what is before me and
ensuring that this matter is properly completed.
I am not going into the hearsay, him say, he say.
That is not my duty, the duty of the police. My
duty is to deal with the issues before me."
Williams said the police investigated the matter
and it had progressed to the point where the
DPP was consulted.
"They continue to deal with the matter, it is
not closed. I never said it was closed," he said.
The acting CoP said when he made the com-
ment at Wednesday's police press briefing it was
because the media had complained the police
were not updating the matter and he admitted
that there was some delay in updates. But he
assured they will update the media when anyone
new is introduced in the matter or new infor-
mation comes to hand.
He declined to respond to Attorney General
Anand Ramlogan's statement at Thursday's post-
Cabinet media briefing. He pointed out though,
that the AG had not been briefed on the inves-
He also would not confirm or deny whether
the doctor was not going to be charged.
"I do not speak to possibilities in an issue. I
deal with evidence and if in the investigation
done there's sufficient evidence to prosecute
then I would engage the DPP's office to get guid-
ance and based on that guidance move to pros-
ecute or not," Williams said.
The doctor who surgically removed 17
cocaine pellets from a suspected drug
mule s stomach last December was
allegedly threatened and made to perform
the illegal surgery at gunpoint.
Yesterday, Medical Association PRO Dr
Austin Trinidade and another medical pro-
fessional, who requested anonymity, con-
firmed that the doctor told colleagues he
had done the surgery under duress at St
Augustine Private Hospital.
But the patient has since died and the
doctor did not know the man who held
him at gunpoint, so police may never be
able to charge anyone in the case.
The doctor has declined to share his
side of the story.
The T&T Guardian called him for an
interview after acting Commissioner of
Police Stephen Williams on Wednesday
said there was insufficient evidence to
charge anyone. But his secretary said he
was unavailable and the doctor had nothing
to say at this time, but would contact the
Guardian when he is ready.
But reliable sources said the doctor was
forced to perform the surgery by a man
who came with another man he had seen
before as a patient. The patient, who was
carrying the cocaine in his stomach at the
time, was reportedly in severe pain. Despite
this, the two reportedly agreed to wait
until the doctor had attended to all his
Suspecting something was not right
when he began his assessment of the
patient's complaint about severe stomach
pains, the doctor initially said he could
not accommodate him.
It was then that the patient's companion
pulled out a gun. The gunman claimed to
know where the doctor and his family
members lived and threatened to kill them
all if he did not do the surgery and keep
The man then watched as the doctor,
assisted by a single nurse, did the surgery
to remove the pellets from the man's stom-
Once all the pellet were removed, the
gunman picked them up and left the build-
ing, leaving the patient behind.
The doctor called an ambulance to take
the patient to the nearby Eric Williams
Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, for
post-surgery care. The T&T Guardian
understands the patient had a relative who
is a senior medical official there and who
facilitated the swift warding of the patient,
but he died there ten days later.
The police and the Medical Board were
reportedly informed of the threats, although
the doctor was initially reluctant because
he still feared for his life.
The Guardian understands new security
measures have been put in place at the St
Augustine hospital since the incident.
The Medical Board reportedly did an
unofficial probe of the incident and was
provided with a video of it. The board
reportedly agreed that the doctor could
not be deemed to have breached any code
of ethics, since he was made to perform
the surgery under duress.
CoP: Case far
Suspected mule dies days after cocaine surgery
Doc living in fear
T&T Guardian Assistant
Sports Editor Keith
Clement, centre, poses
for a picture with
characters from the
who were delivering
sweets around the
GML Building, St
Vincent Street, Port-of-
Spain, yesterday in
Halloween, which was
celebrated in the US
Speaking yesterday, Trinidade said the
doctor did not breach medical ethics, as he
"did medically what he had to do."
He said there is no legal requirement for the
doctor to report the discovery of the narcotic.
This is contrary to Attorney General Anand
Ramlogan's declaration on Thursday. During
the post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday,
Ramlogan called on the police to reopen the
probe and said the doctor did not fulfil his legal
obligation to report the incident to the police.
However, Trinidade contended that the
Medical Board Act did not say the doctor was
obligated to report the cocaine discovery.
"There is nothing in the law that says that
doctors are bound, or in the code of ethics, that
says doctors are bound to do this," he said.
"The only thing notifiable is that doctors
should report suspected cases of rape, child
abuse and things like that. It is very vague.
There is no list of things that we should
He said one should not be hasty to judge the
doctor who did the surgery.
"It is easy for us to say on the outside he
should have reported what he found, but we
do not know what sort of pressure he was
under and so on. We really cannot make a
judgement on that, because we really do not
have all of the information. I certainly never
had all the information.
"But there was talk from some of his
colleagues that he had been threatened,"
In a phone interview, Medical Board secretary
Prof Hariharan Seetharaman said the board did
not probe the matter officially because no
official report on the incident was made to them.
Asked if they did an informal probe, he said
no, adding this could only be done if there was a
written complaint from anyone of the Office of
the DPP or the police.
"If there was any criminal negligence on the
part of the doctor, usually the DPP or public
prosecutor would usually take action and then
they would notify us. Once somebody complains
that there was some infamous conduct or
negligent conduct from any doctor, then we
would take action from the medical board," he
He also explained that if the doctor did the
surgery to save the life of the patient, "that
comes under 'good samaritan' work.
"Unless there is a profit motive and they did
it for saving a life and then did appropriately
inform the legal authority about that, then the
doctor would not be held responsible in any part
of the world or any Commonwealth country," he
He said if the doctor had done the surgery for
"clandestine motive and for profit and did not
inform the police at all about some suspicious
illegal thing that is happening, then according to
the code of conduct it is infamous conduct.
"But still we cannot speculate somebody has
to inform the Medical Board."
MEDICAL BOARD: NO PROBE
Links Archive October 31st 2014 November 2nd 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page