Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 9th 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Friday, June 9, 2017
Christopher Philip, whose
body was found on the grounds
of the Port-of-Spain General
Hospital on Wednesday, was
treated at the institution twice
and asked to remain - but he
disappeared twice, Health
Minister Terrence Deyalsin-
gh has said.
Deyalsingh delivered a prelim-
inary report on the issue in the
Senate yesterday in response to
UNC Senator Wade Mark had
asked about the elderly citizen,
who reportedly died on the hos-
pital's compound after receiving
treatment there. His body was
found there Wednesday.
Deyalsingh expressed deep con-
dolences to Phillip's family.
"He was in my thoughts and
prayers last night," he added.
Yesterday prior to the Senate,
Deyalsingh's ministry assured the
matter was being treated with "ex-
treme priority" and a comprehen-
sive investigation was being done
and findings would inform any
critical operational changes which
may be required immediately.
Deyalsingh told the Senate he
had a preliminary report which he
had commissioned on Wednesday
and which was supplied by PoS-
GH's Dr Anthony Parkinson.
Deyalsingh said around 10.09
am on Tuesday, Phillip, 62, and
not 82 as reported, was brought
by ambulance to the Accident and
He added, "His vitals were taken
and he was sent for an x-ray. His
major complaint was that he was
suffering at home and had nobody
to take care of him. He received the
x-ray results at 2.30pm.
"Mr Philip was then medically
discharged and instructed not to
leave the A&E department because
it now became a social case due
to his living conditions at home.
He complained he had no one at
home to take care of him, he had
no meals, he was hungry and he
had no money for transport. He
then disappeared. That was his
first disappearance after being
told to wait.
"At 3 pm the same day, he was
observed by the MTS guard. He
was then taken back to the A&E.
At 5.16 pm that same Tuesday ---
where his vitals were taken and
he was put in a wheelchair to be
taken to an examination cubicle.
Mr Philip then disappeared for
the second time in the same day;
the assumption was then he dis-
charged himself against medical
advice, which as a patient in T&T
you are entitled to do."
Deyalsingh's speaking time
then ended before he could
complete delivery of the report.
Mark probed further, asking about
measures to be taken following the
Deyalsingh said, "Officials can-
not detain and constrain someone
and treat them against their own
wishes or their own consent. The
health authorities --- doctors and
nurses --- treated Mr Phillip twice
on the same day. He disappeared
of his own volition.
"There is no guilt here, no
process to be fixed. Protocols
were followed and unfortunately
something happened in the inter-
vening period between Tuesday
evening and Wednesday when he
then came back and presented
(himself) on the lawn."
He added, "We have no idea
what happened in that interven-
ing 12 hours, but all protocols were
followed and he received the best
of treatment and he disappeared
twice after being told to wait."
The T&T Guardian understands
social workers are liaising with
police to try to locate Phillip's
Burying this will not help, eyewitness
Lystra Alexis says her con-
science bothered her when
she saw Christopher Phillip,
80, being dumped on the lawn
of the Port-of-Spain General
Hospital's car park by two MTS
security officers on Wednesday
morning. Alexis, 52, of Valen-
cia, who was on her way out the
hospital, turned back and used
her cellphone to videotape Phil-
lip lying on the ground writhing
She said when she tried to get
medical attention for Phillip, who
subsequently died, she was told an
ambulance had to be summoned
to take the ailing man into the
Accident and Emergency (A&E)
Alexis posted her video of the in-
cident on Facebook and the result-
ing public outrage over his death
has prompted officials the North
West Regional Health Authority
(NWRHA) to investigate the case.
The incident was also witnessed
by Kevin Ramoutar, who told the
T&T Guardian he saw an "almost
lifeless" Phillip being taken out of
an ambulance by security officers
and left in the car park. Ramoutar,
a patient at the A&E, said he saw no
signs of movement from the elderly
man. His account is supported by
what is seen in Alexis' video.
Yesterday, the Health Ministry
said it is conducting its own inves-
tigation into the matter to "shed
light on the cause of this disturb-
ing occurrence and will inform any
critical operational changes which
may be required immediately."
In a separate statement late
Wednesday announcing its own
investigation, the NWRHA said:
"Preliminary reports indicate
that Mr Phillip was brought into
the hospital yesterday (Tuesday)
evening via ambulance and was
seen at the Accident and Emer-
gency Department. He was treated
following all protocols of care and
was later discharged.
"Subsequently, Mr Phillip was
seen lying on the floor outside
the department and was assisted
by members of staff back into the
department to be seen a second
time. Mr Phillip then left on his
own accord. His body was later
discovered on the front lawn of
the hospital's compound.
"The NWRHA is deeply dis-
turbed by this event and extends
sincere condolences to his rel-
atives. We would like to assure
them and members of the public
that every effort is being made to
complete the investigation within
the shortest time frame."
Alexis, a supervisor at Massy
Stores, said she had attended an
outpatient clinic at the hospital and
was hustling home when she saw
two security officers lifting Phillip
and placing him on the ground in
the car park.
"I felt troubled and uncomforta-
ble because it could have been me. I
came back inside and started ques-
tioning the security officers, who
insisted that they could not take
him back inside the A&E and that
an ambulance had to bring him in.
chance to bury him
In a show of love and compas-
sion, residents of Blundell Alley,
Laventille, have come forward to
bury Christopher Phillip, whose
body was found in the car park of
the Port-of-Spain General Hos-
pital on Wednesday.
The residents put forward the
proposal after an appeal was made
yesterday by CEO the North West
Regional Health Authority (NWRHA)
Sheldon Cyrus, who called on Phil-
lip's family to come forward to identi-
fy his body so an autopsy can be done
and a cause of death determined.
Speaking on condition of anonym-
ity, one resident said they had known
Phillip, 62, for the past eight years
and expected no relative to come
The resident said Phillip was born
in Grenada and came to Trinidad to
live many years ago.
"He left behind his two daughters
who he spoke highly of," the resident
She said when Phillip moved into
the community he took up occupan-
cy in an abandoned home which be-
longed to someone.
"We are putting forward an unu-
sual request. We want to know if we
can identify his body at the morgue,
seeing that he has no relative in Trin-
idad?" she said.
"We also want to give him a decent
burial. That is the best we can do for
him. Mr Phillip was a good human
being. He never interfered with an-
She said villagers discussed this at
length yesterday and agreed to chip
in and pay for his burial.
Contacted on this, Cyrus said he
would have to speak to the NWRHA's
"It is really a unique request,"
The resident said Phillip often did
odds-and-ends jobs in exchange for
a plate of food.
"He was always willing to work and
help people. On a Sunday he loved
to dress up and look nice...he would
put on his hat and step out in style."
She explained that after a neigh-
bour had not seen Phillip for two
days, she went in search on him in
the abandoned home and found him
"He could have barely walked."
The resident said the neighbour
paid someone to tidy Phillip up and
on Tuesday called an ambulance
which dropped him off at the hos-
"That was the last we saw of him.
When we heard about his death it
shocked everyone, especially the
way he died."
Cyrus yesterday admitted he be-
came enraged after viewing a video on
Facebook of Phillip rolling in pain in-
side the hospital compound. He also
confessed that he was "disappointed"
with his staff.
Patient found dead on hospital lawn
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