Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 2nd 2014 Contents news
November 2, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
A lawyer was hired to carry out a witch-
hunt for the whistle-blower who leaked a
photo of 17 cocaine pellets that were sur-
gically removed by a doctor from a sus-
pected drug mule s stomach at the insti-
tution last December.
This was revealed yesterday by a
spokesman in the medical profession.
In an interview yesterday, the spokesman
said, "When the mule went to the St Augus-
tine Private Hospital to have the surgery
done, a photo of the cocaine pellets was
"When it went out it caused a furore.
There was a kind of witch-hunt when a
lawyer was brought in to interrogate the
members of staff who were part of the sur-
"Money was spent, and this $1,500-plus
an hour lawyer was hired to find out who
was the alleged whistle-blower.
"There is a lot of spin going around about
"If he doesn t want to take blame, the
idea is to say that he was threatened and
there was no evidence of that."
The medical professional pointed out
several details, one is that the Medical Board
received no video of the alleged incident
and questioned if it was a fabrication to
cover it up.
He said the doctor had no sort of increase
in visible security after the alleged threat.
He said the doctor had enough means to
hire personal security guards, yet he was
seen at several high profile functions and
Carnival fetes after the incident with a fam-
ily member, and without any security
He said contrary to a report that there
was only one nurse with the doctor during
the operation, there were five or six people
in the surgery room.
"You have to have an anaesthetist, the
doctor performing the surgery, a "runner"
to get the instruments for the doctor, an
assistant nurse, someone to drape, and an
attendant to wheel the patient in and out
the operating theatre."
He said when the mule s condition dete-
riorated after the cocaine pellets were
removed from his stomach and he was
transferred to the Eric Williams Medical
Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, the police had
all avenues right away to obtain his toxi-
The medical professional said this brings
up the possible existence of a medical mafia
working in conjunction with drug runners.
He said this raised the issue whether other
drug mules can be surgically implanted with
drugs in their stomachs in private hospitals
and sent abroad where a medical colleague
will be able to remove drugs at a price.
The source said every person in T&T was
subject to the temptation of fast and easy
money from drug lords.
in cocaine case'
The Medical Board of T&T (MBTT) has
on its Web site,
three code of ethics on whistle-
Patients must be protected from a
colleague whose conduct,
competence or health is
questionable. The concern raised
should be dealt with expeditiously,
and must override personal or
Where there is a suspicion that
criminal activity has taken place, and
in particular in cases of alleged
sexual assault, a police report must
The MBTT is not a legal entity and as
such cannot determine guilt nor
prosecute any physician accused of a
Members of the Woodbrook community stop to pray as they take part in a candle vigil yesterday in remembrance of members of
their community who died, along Rosolino Street, Woodbrook. PHOTO:ABRAHAM DIAZ
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has rejected
suggestions that doctors are not under any obli-
gation to report suspected crimes following med-
ical procedures with patients.
He said failure to notify the relevant authorities
of such matters will violate the professional code,
if not the law.
"If the doctor and his staff did not voluntarily
assist but did so out of fear for his life, they are
in fact victims of a most serious criminal offence---
assault and/or battery." Ramlogan said if a doctor
is forced to perform an operation at gunpoint and
the gunman escapes with extracted pellets, this
should make clear his suspicion that they were
unwittingly forced to play a role in what can be
considered a "criminal enterprise."
Ramlogan was responding to fresh evidence that
surfaced in a Guardian report yesterday that the
doctor who surgically removed 17 cocaine pellets
from a suspected drug mule s stomach last Decem-
ber at the St Augustine Private Hospital was alleged-
ly threatened and made to perform the illegal surgery
The information was revealed by PRO of the
Medical Association Dr Austin Trinidade and anoth-
er medical professional, who requested anonymity.
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.
Trinidade said the doctor did not breach medical
ethics, as he "did medically what he had to do,"
and there was no legal requirement for the doctor
to report the discovery of the narcotic. On Thursday
Ramlogan called on the police to reopen the probe.
He said the doctor did not fulfil his legal obligation
to report the incident to the police.
Yesterday, Ramlogan said it was necessary to
provide some clarification about the responsibility
of doctors when they are confronted with delicate
and difficult situations which might involve criminal
offences. Ramlogan said principles of confidentiality
which govern the normal doctor-patient relationship
cannot and does not apply in situations where
medical practitioners operated under duress.
The AG said transportation of drugs by ingestion
is a fairly well established occurrence and at min-
imum, the doctor s suspicion should be aroused
and the police should be immediately notified so
that the suspected drug mule could be apprehended
and placed under police guard before or after he
is transferred to a public hospital.
Alternatively, Ramlogan said the police could
keep the suspect under surveillance, monitor his
movements, and at the appropriate time he could
be questioned by the police on the identity of his
Ramlogan also supported statements made by
the secretary of the Medical Board of T&T (MBTT)
Dr Hariharan Seetharaman who indicated "that a
doctor could not hide under the refuge of a breach
of confidentiality" and that "whenever there is a
legal scenario, the doctor must inform the police."
Asked if information had come to hand that six
staff members of a private hospital were questioned
by an attorney recently, Ramlogan said "this is a
matter by law for the office of the DPP, the Police
Service and the T&T Medical Board. I sincerely
hope that this matter is not swept under the carpet
and that it will be thoroughly and properly inves-
tigated so justice can be done, and there would be
no repeat of this extraordinary incident."
obligated to report
Links Archive November 1st 2014 November 3rd 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page