Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2014 Contents GEISHA KOWLESSAR
Guyanese national Vidya Bachu
decided to leave the Eric Williams
Medical Sciences Complex, Mt
Hope, with her ailing husband
Jeetindra Sookram although he was
being attended to by nurses.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan
made the statement during a press
conference at the ministry at Park
Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
He also said there was no longer
a need to fill out the "pink form", a
financial-obligation statement to be
signed on accessing emergency care.
"Any person, whether resident or
non-resident, who presents himself
before any Accident and Emergency
Department in any public health care
institution in T&T will be treated,"
Bachu claimed Sookram was
denied medical treatment because
he was a foreigner.
Khan said at no time was Bachu
advised that a failure to pay would
result in a denial of further treatment
for her husband.
Khan said in 2004, the Govern-
ment at that time decided that serv-
ices would be free for all nationals
and permanent residents of T&T.
He added: "From the information
received, the patient was attended
to and treatment commenced in
accordance with our established pol-
icy and procedures regarding the
treatment of persons presenting
themselves with chest pains.
"Notwithstanding, in light of the
misunderstanding on the part of the
relative, and to ensure that there is
no repeat of any misunderstanding,
I have directed all RHAs cease the
requirement of the filling out of the
financial-obligation statement at the
time of accessing emergency care."
He said the internationally accept-
ed practice for public hospitals was
that they must act reasonably in
their decision to treat patients.
Asked whether people were billed
after signing the "pink form", Khan
said: "In the early days some people
were asked to pay but in the last
couple of years there has not been
Khan has asked chairman of the
North Central Regional Health
Authority Dr Shehenaz Mohammed
He said when he got the report
any further action that might be
deemed necessary would be taken.
Asked whether there was concern
between the relations between
Guyana and T&T Khan said: "There
was a lot of concern based on the
reporting that was seen in the media.
"The patient was never really
denied treatment so this is why I
called the press conference to main-
tain the relationship between Guyana
and Trinidad in this manner."
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Fuad on death of Guyanese:
Mt Hope nurses were attending
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, right, responds to questions during a media
conference at the ministry in Port-of-Spain yesterday about Guyanese national
Jeetindra Sookram being denied medical attention. At left is acting chief
medical officer Dr Clive Tilluckdharry. PHOTO: KEITH MATTHEWS
A copy of the "pink form", a financial-obligation statement which Jeetindra
Sookram's relative was asked to sign to access emergency health care.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan is
either lying or has not been told
the truth about the circumstances
leading to the death Jeetindra
Sookram says Vidya Bachu.
Sookram, 35, died last Thursday
in the car park of a private doctor s
office in Charlieville after he was
reportedly refused emergency treat-
ment at the Eric Williams Medical
Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
Sookram, who was in Trinidad on
a two-week vacation with Bachu,
was taken to hospital suffering from
An autopsy yesterday at the
EWMSC showed he died from a
massive heart attack.
Bachu said in an attempt to save
her husband s life, she left the hos-
pital to seek alternative help after
staff refused to provide further atten-
tion when they realised he was a
At a news conference yesterday,
Khan denied Bachu s account of the
He said investigations revealed she
refused to fill out a "pink form", but
she was not told failure to pay would
result in the denial of further treat-
In an earlier interview with the
T&T Guardian, North Central
Regional Health Authority chairman
Dr Shehenaz Mohammed said there
was no policy that non-nationals
could be turned away from emer-
gency care because they were unable
Bachu denied refusing to fill out
the "pink form" obligating her to
pay for Sookram s treatment.
She said she was never given any
form to sign or fill out, and Sookram
was never registered as a patient.
Instead, she said, when she tried
to register him with his passport as
a form of identification but it was
given back to her when it was noted
he was a non-national.
"They never asked me his name
or his age. They just give me back
his passport and said nothing. If you
don t register a person, how could
you know his medical history or what
he is allergic to?
"They are making it sound as
though I took him and leave. That
is a lie. They turned me away. I did
not leave on my own. If they had
told me to hold on, we are going to
look after him, I would not have left
because he was in a lot of pain. He
could hardly talk."
Bachu also went to the Guyanese
Consulate yesterday where she met
with consul Ernie Ross to make
arrangements for Sookram s body to
be flown back to his home at Wak-
She said his body was at Guide s
Funeral Home, Couva, and if all went
well he should be flown home
Bachu said she intended to write
a full report on the entire episode
which she would share with the
...but wife says: Khan not told truth
Khan gave the details of an initial report he received from the
head consultant at the hospital's A&E Department:
• The patient and relative arrived at the A&E Department.
• During the triage process the patient's vitals were checked and
blood was taken and dispatched to the lab for testing and an
ectrocardiogram (ECG) was requested for the patient.
• While the patient was receiving care and awaiting an ECG the
relative was asked to register the patient at the registration area.
• As part of the registration process some form of identification
was requested to avoid mistakes in data collection.
• The relative presented a Guyanese passport to the clerk at the
• Consequently, the relative was asked to fill a pink form.
• The relative enquired the cost of the procedure and the clerk
said she could not give the cost at that time.
• She refused to sign and left, telling the clerk she would come
WHAT THE REPORT SAYS
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