A 35-year-old woman who claims to have been forced into quarantine with her two-year-old son was on Monday expressing concern about the disappearance of COVID-19 test samples.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY from quarantine, a frustrated Samantha Jordan said she was hoping the delay in the return of the results did not have anything to do with her standing her ground on refusing to have the nasal swab test administered to her and her son.
The woman said she was unhappy with the way she was treated at the Accident and Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) where she took her son last Thursday for treatment after he experienced breathing challenges. She pleaded with the authorities for answers about her and her ward’s test results.
She said she is currently feeling healthy, her son is on asthma medication, and they are ready to go home, but cannot leave until they receive negative COVID-19 results.
Jordan said when they arrived at A&E after 2 p.m. on Thursday, after being transferred there from Sandy Crest, doctors insisted that based on the symptoms her son was experiencing, a COVID-19 PCR test was necessary for both of them. However, the mother said she asked that they receive an oral COVID-19 test instead of the nasal swab.
“Then I asked the paediatric doctor if there is a different way to get the COVID test and she told me no, and that they test babies by sticking the swab up the baby’s nose. I said no to the PCR because he is a very active child and as a mother, I fear that if you all try to push this thing up his nose, he would make a sudden movement and the person might end up pushing it too far and it might end up breaking off in his nose,” Jordan said.
Nevertheless, the mother said that while the medical practitioners insisted that she or her son could not be sent to the paediatric ward without negative COVID-19 test results, she inquired whether the child would be able to receive the treatment he needed right in A&E.
“The doctor came and told me that staying in A&E is not an option and that they would have to send me to an isolation facility. She went along and I was there for another long wait. Then another doctor came in later and asked me again about the PCR tests and I told her not for him because I fear that test for him.
“She threatened that if we don’t take this PCR test that they would test everybody that I work with and everybody that the child’s father work with and they would send me in isolation at Harrison Point and after isolation they are going to send me in quarantine for two weeks,” she said.
Jordan continued: “I was like, ‘send me in quarantine for two weeks? You all acting like I have COVID. What if I am negative?’
The following day they were transported to the Isolation Centre at Enmore, Collymore Rock, St Michael by the COVID ambulance.
The mother of three said they were taken there on Friday where she again asked whether they could receive an oral COVID-19 test. She confirmed that both she and the toddler received an oral COVID-19 test at Enmore that same day, but noted that she was informed the following day that “the machine to test the oral swabs was not working”. She said she again refused the nasal swab.
Jordan said on Sunday morning, she was informed that she would be sent to a quarantine centre. She indicated that when they arrived at the centre, she was informed that the oral samples taken from her and her son had disappeared.
Meanwhile, a statement from the Director of Medical Services at QEH, Dr Clyde Cave issued today dismissed stories circulating on social media about the medical management of a child and family in the A&E at the QEH.
He said due to the hospital’s commitment to patient privacy and confidentiality, the healthcare institution could not disclose any specific patient details.
Dr Cave however maintained that the representation of the situation in various posts is inaccurate based on his investigation of the matter
He pointed out that during the ongoing pandemic, doctors have to balance multiple responsibilities, but first and foremost is the duty of care to the child patient to ensure their well-being. The doctor said that respect for the wishes of parents is also taken into consideration but must be balanced with advocacy for any concerns affecting the minor, while the safety of the public, hospital staff and other patients is essential at this time.
“We do acknowledge that an individual has the right to refuse a COVID-19 test. However, to ensure public safety, clear national protocols have been issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) and these protocols state that in the event that a suspected COVID-19 positive individual refuses to undergo PCR testing, the individual will be required to quarantine for a period of 14 days at a MOHW approved facility. These facilities are established and managed directly by the MOHW and the Harrisons Point Isolation is not one of them as it is solely for the treatment of confirmed COVID-19 positive individuals,” the Director of Medical Services explained.