Hi-tech hit on SFGH

The original article can be found in: Trinidad Guardian By Kevon Felmine

The alarm system at the San Fernando General Hospital was turned off before thieves made off with a $.5 million ultrasound machine on August 7, the CEO of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), Anil Gosine, said yesterday. He was astonished nevertheless that although not all locations around the hospital were covered by more than 100 video cameras, the thieves still got away with the sizeable piece of machinery.

In an interview yesterday, Gosine told the T&T Guardian the machine was yet to be found but investigators were making progress. He said private medical institutions would now be targeted in the s earch for the machine, since the authorities were convinced it was spirited away in a well organised plan. Since the machine’s disappearance, fewer sonograms have been done at South Trinidad’s main hospital, Gosine admitted. “We are continuing to try to recover it,” he said.

“In fact, we have right now, our security, along with the police, trying to recover it and get some leads. “What we can say is that there are only a few nursing homes/medical centres at this point in time that would utilise ultrasound machines, and obviously these are the areas we are looking at.” He said investigations so far had unearthed information which showed the theft was well planned and executed.

“Apparently the alarm system was shut off, so this was planned,” Gosine said. “The security department did identify they had alarms in certain points which would have been previous to the machine leaving. The alarms were nullified and it seems like it was all part of it.” He said it was also now critical that the RHA plugged the blind spots at the hospital and improved security protocols.

“We have cameras in the hospital, but not at all locations,” he said. “We have over 100 cameras at the hospital and we

are in the process of increasing the number of cameras to all areas of the hospital. “Now we have an extension, with the Chancery Lane Hospital Complex coming along, we will have some there also.” He said work on the hospital complex continues and it should be up and running by the end of the year.

Police have not yet ascertained any definite lead, but Gosine said hospital security staff had begun interviewing medical staff to find out why the machine was not properly secured. According to a hospital official, it was last used by anaesthetists in the surgical theatre of the hospital’s new wing. “We have started the process of looking at why the machine was not locked down,” Gosine said. “We normally would have these machines all locked up properly at the end of the day, wherever they were.

“The only reason we would take out machines really is for maintenance and servicing. Machines are not really loaned unless it is loaned to another public facility. “It is moved around in the hospital but we have other machines, so it will affect the number of ultrasounds, but not to a large extent.” Gosine said everything possible was being done to recover the machine. Health Minister Fuad Khan could not be reached for comment yesterday, as calls to his phone went unanswered.

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