A 38-year-old man says he is feeling traumatized after being treated in what he described as an inhumane manner by some medical professionals at the Accident and Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
Jeremy Hoyte said he will never forget the treatment on April 30 when personnel suspected he may have had COVID-19.
He was tested and the results came back negative.
“Later that morning after returning home (from A&E) I laid in bed staring at the roof traumautized by my experience, in total disbelief of the treatment I received at Barbados’ premier medical facility. Was this the norm at the QEH?
“Was I really told by a member of their staff to stay in a room in pain and allow my heart to stop and if they see fit the doctor would revive me? Or was it all from the fear of COVID-19, which I do not have?”
The young man said he was so angered and disturbed by the situation that he felt compelled to write a letter of complaint to Minister of Health and Wellness Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic, and copy it in the Executive Chairman of the QEH Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s Permanent Secretary Alies Jordan.
Hoyte said he received a response from Jordan who informed him that Prime Minister Mottley would like to speak to him about the matter.
However, Hoyte who told Barbados TODAY he had been tested for COVID-19 at Paragon on April 29 said he saw it necessary to share his experience because he believes there is a need for some of those in the A&E to change their attitude towards patients.
He said he was sent to Paragon by his family physician who was concerned about the headaches and uncontrollable severe shivering which made him feel weak and caused his muscles and joints to become very sore. Hoyte commended the officials at Paragon for the exemplary professional treatment they meted out to him when he went to be tested.
He said while awaiting the results which he was told he would receive the following morning, his condition worsened and the pain became unbearable. He said after calling around, his relatives eventually found a doctor who was willing to see him at her office.
After evaluating and assessing his symptoms, Hoyte said the doctor, who was dressed in personal protective equipment, was concerned about his condition and told him she would be unable to give diagnoses because his COVID-19 test results had not yet returned. He said the physician called the QEH and alerted care providers there that she would be sending him with a prepared letter.
He went to QEH accompanied by his aunt whom he said happens to be a permanent staff nurse at the hospital.
“Despite the content of the letter I was informed by the nurse that they are not dealing with COVID-19 patients. I told the nurse that I am not a COVID-19 patient and I was awaiting the results of my test but I was referred there by Dr Dottin who called ahead and made arrangements for me to be seen. After some debate amongst themselves, the letter was taken inside, I assume to the doctor on duty and my personal information and medical history was recorded on a form.
“My pressure and temperature were taken and I was asked to take a seat under a tent and advised to follow the necessary protocols. Approximately 30 minutes later I was directed inside by one of the nurses where I was greeted by Dr Roa. He introduced himself and took me straight to a room and explained that he would not be able to do anything to me until he received my results which he would try to get, but in the interim I would be quarantined in the room until the results were available,” he said.
Hoyte, who said he was in the room for hours with no one checking on him, also noted that when night came, the air-conditioning made him feel extremely cold and he began to shake vigorously to the point that the chair was shaking as well. He said his aunt gave him a blanket but that did not help the situation.
“It was now approximately 8 p.m. and still no medical personnel from the A&E department had returned to check on me. My heart felt like it would slow to stop and I was scared. I could take no more. I panicked and ran out of the room. My aunt hurried to me to enquire what was wrong and I explained what had happened. She advised me not to return to the room and to bring the chair out and sit directly in front of the door which I did.
“I took two paracetamol tablets I brought from home and sat in the chair until the shivering subsided. Unbelievably even to this point no one checked on me so they weren’t even aware of the attack. I stayed in the chair directly in front of the room as directed by my aunt and I continued to observe the necessary protocols.”
He said after sitting outside the room for about 25 minutes, a nurse approached him and inquired why he was not in the room and informed him that he was breaking protocol. He said the nurse insisted he returned to the room though he informed her that his body could not tolerate the cold.
Hoyte related that a male orderly also informed him and his aunt that they were breaking protocol and also warned them that they were putting others’ lives at risk.
“I asked him ‘sir what was I supposed to do, stay in the room and allow my heart to stop?’ he replied ‘yes stay in your room. It is protocol. If your heart stop the doctor would bring a machine and revive it’. I was so astonished and angered by his response.
“Did a trained employee of a medical facility just say this to me? That was the last straw. At age 38, I was reduced to tears. I was receiving no medical attention whatever. The staff was now verbally attacking me and it appeared that my COVID-19 results would not have been available until the following day.”
Hoyte said at this point, after consulting with his aunt, they decided it was time to leave QEH.
However, he said before they could leave, a nurse politely asked him to stay, and then eventually, around 9 p.m. a young lady who identified herself as Dr Drakes, in full protective attire approached him. He said the doctor apologized for what had taken place, administered an I.V, took samples of his blood and urine, and promised to have him relocated to a more comfortable setting.
Around 9:49 p.m. Hoyte got a call from a representative at the Ministry of Health informing him that his COVID-19 result was negative, as was confirmed by the same doctor who returned about 25 minutes after he received the call.
Hoyte said he received further tests that night, was diagnosed, received a prescription and was told to make arrangements to get home.
However, he said when someone arrived to take him home and he asked a nurse to take out the I.V, he again received an unprofessional response and had to wait for sometime before it was done.
“I therefore looked in the direction of the doctors’ area myself until I got the attention of Dr Drakes. I told her my brother was outside and she told me no problem that she will get a nurse to take out the I.V. Ten minutes later a second nurse came to take out the I.V. While she was taking it out, I realised that it was now 1 a.m. and I wouldn’t be able to get my prescription at that time.
“I therefore asked the nurse if she could ask Dr Drakes if it was possible to get something for the pain to get me through the night. The nurse replied, ‘I am on break and I take two minutes of my break to take out this I.V. and you telling me about Dr Drakes and medication?’ I said sorry madam and as she was finished I said thank you and I just left,” he said.
Noting that the concerns he raised were not a condemnation of hard-working dedicated members of the medical community, Hoyte said he believes the last thing a person under tremendous strain because of illness needs is to meet a care-giver who does not seem to care and who displays what he described as rude, insensitive and obnoxious behaviour.
“I am also most certain that if I had been a prominent member of society that the treatment would have been different. They would have donned their protective gear from the beginning, as Dr Drakes did and attended to me. Persons must still realize that other diseases have not stopped because we are in a pandemic. I could have died that night. This kind of treatment is unacceptable to any member of society regardless of ethnicity,” Hoyte said.
When Barbados TODAY contacted Bynoe-Sutherland for a comment she said the matter was being thoroughly investigated.