A senior official has pushed back against suggestions that the absence of key personnel and sterilised equipment is preventing the Queen Elizabeth Hospital from carrying out surgeries.
The QEH’s Director of Medical Services Anthony Harris sought to defend the hospital, acknowledging that while some challenges did exist, he suggested the case of a 30-year-old man who fears he could lose his hand after numerous delays was simply not an emergency.
Harris said: “We have a full orthopaedic team and we have been slowly expanding our staff and stuff but it would be an absolute exception for a patient to come to harm while waiting for a surgery and had it delayed.”
Explaining that cases are separated into elective and urgent or emergency cases, the Medical Services Director said the case of Shamar Wilson, who was recently highlighted in the media, did not qualify as an emergency.
Harris added: “Elective cases need to occur to prevent you becoming an emergency.
“We don’t think in this particular case, he had become an emergency.
“So he is still very much in the realm of an elective case and I think we try very hard to get to the patients before they do become emergencies.”
Wilson’s hand was reportedly badly damaged after he was involved in a collision while travelling as a pilion rider along the Pine, St. Michael on a motorcycle three years ago.
But with exposed metal still in his forearm, the injury has not healed and he has been given three different dates to return to the hospital.
Wilson further claimed that the absence of anaesthesiologists and clean equipment were some of the reasons given for the holdup.
Harris said he could not give more details about Wilson’s case because of “confidentiality issues”, he said the decision was based on “medical judgment”.
He added: “I would be up front to say that sometimes now and then there are some hospital related things that may force surgical and procedural doctors to reschedule but that is in a specific order that accounts for certain things.”
The QEH manager spoke of difficulties in assembling a team of nurses;, anaesthetists and surgeons, forcing them to make difficult decisions. But he stressed any delays were scheduled in a way that those affected would not become emergency cases.
Harris said: “Sometimes we have equipment problems and I know in the press recently we had some challenges with our autoclaves and we had to ensure that we did the best for the majority of the country and sometimes we have to save what resources we have for emergencies, but of course we try to get these things rectified as quickly as possible to get back to normalcy as fast as we can.”
He added that patients could also be delayed for elective surgeries if their blood pressure, blood sugar or other wellness factors are not in good shape. [email protected]