Local cardiologist Dr Alfred Sparman is refuting claims by a Grenadian family that he failed to properly care for a heart patient three years ago, resulting in the man’s death from a heart attack.
Sherwin Natoo died after he and his wife arrived here in December 2014 for treatment from the cardiologist.
His surviving relatives recently appeared on television in their home country claiming Natoo’s death was avoidable. They made a similar claim on Facebook last Thursday,
Natoo was referred to the Sparman clinic by a Grenadian doctor after he was involved in a vehicular accident. The family said the decision was made to send him to Barbados because he had a heart problem considered to be severe.
They also said that while he routinely travelled to Miami for required check ups, Grenada’s proximity to Barbados and the severity of his condition swayed the family’s decision.
Stefan Ali, an attorney and the dead man’s nephew, told his Grenadian television audience that on arrival at the clinic here, his uncle was examined by Dr Sparman who assured the family the worst was over and Sherwin’s condition was stable, only to be told four days later that urgent surgery was needed to replace the fibrillator.
The Natoo family said Dr Sparman told them the full cost of $92,000 had to be paid upfront, a sum that took them 12 days to raise.
“That’s when the doctor . . . Dr Sparman decided to attempt to do surgery, but before he could do the surgery, he claims that Sherwin had cardiac arrest and died . . . and that was kind of shocking to us, because by that time, it seemed as though he was doing a little bit stronger, he was able to get up and brush his teeth and stuff like that, that he wasn’t doing in earlier days,” Ali told MTV News in St George’s.
Ali complained that even though the surgery was not done, the doctor refused to refund any of the money.
However, speaking through his attorney-at-law Sir Richard Cheltenham, QC, Dr Sparman denied Ali’s version of events.
“That account of Mr Natoo’s treatment contains many distortions of what really took place. It stands in contrast, too, to the high level of appreciation expressed to Dr Sparman and his staff by the patient’s wife, who was always by his side,” Sir Richard stated.
“Dr Sparman specifically wishes to reject any suggestion that he was incompetent or indifferent in his treatment of Mr Natoo who was seriously unwell. Mr Natoo received the best medical care available in the circumstances at the Sparman Clinic, but unfortunately, died notwithstanding,” the legal counsel added.
Sir Richard said Dr Sparman had expressed his sympathy to the Natoo family, “but wishes to emphasize that no health care institution can save all its patients”.
“Some, despite the care provided, die,” he concluded.
The Natoo family is demanding refunds of the cost of the fibrillator and the surgery, an investigation by Grenada’s ministry of health into the procedure for referring patients from the general hospital in St George’s “and that the Grenada Medical Council affirmatively state that Sparman would not be granted any future licence to practice in Grenada”.
The family wants an end to both public and private referrals to Dr Sparman, intervention by the Dr Keith Mitchell administration with the Barbados Government regarding the cardiologist, and an explanation from St George’s as to why Dr Sparman had been granted a licence to practise in Grenada when he had been disqualified under Grenadian law.
His lawyer said Dr Sparman, having practised medicine for 27 years, had demonstrated his commitment to patient care and his patients have lauded his bedside manner and medical skills.
He added that his client would be exploring his legal rights with respect to Ali’s statements.