Jamaica: Hospital Fear

A string of violent attacks and threats against medical staff has created an atmosphere of fear at St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, triggering a meeting that was only called after affected personnel made it clear to administrators that they had had enough.
Notice of the meeting called for Monday, April 10, at 9:00 am with Tyrone Robinson, chairman of the North Eastern Regional Health Authority Board of Management, was circulated by e-mail and passed to the Jamaica Observer to highlight the problems.
Sources close to the hospital told the Sunday Observer that one of the attacks resulted in a social worker suffering a fractured cervical spine.
“She was attacked by a relative of a patient on the ward and was admitted,” our source said.
The newspaper also received reports of an intern being threatened and a ward assistant being boxed. Both attacks, the Sunday Observer was told, were reported to the hospital’s administrators, and the intern was advised to report the threat to the police.
Two Saturdays ago when the Sunday Observer contacted hospital CEO Leo Garrell for a comment, he asked that the questions be emailed to him. His request was met, but up to yesterday he had not responded.
According to our source, another intern was also left fearing for his life when a woman used her cellular phone to take a photo of him and sent it to her boyfriend claiming that “the doctor” had sexually assaulted her.
“He is understandably shaken because he fears the boyfriend may attack him,” our source said, adding that the intern was also unsure of whether his photo was posted on any social media platform.
Our source also said that recently there were two incidents in the Orthopaedic Clinic, the last one being the “most disturbing”, as a patient “who was extremely aggressive” attacked some doctors and then went to the customer complaints desk and filed a report against a doctor.
The source said concern grew among the hospital staff as they recalled the injury to a health records technician at Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston last month.
Splinter from a shattered glass window became lodged in the eye of the technician after a parent, who reportedly wanted his child to be assisted at the hospital but was told to wait, got upset and smashed the window.
Workers who were incensed by the way in which the situation was handled, and also by what they described as continuous abuse from parents, walked off the job and staged a protest outside the hospital to register their disgust.
At the time Tamra Brown, a health records technician and Union of Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Personnel delegate, told the Observer that the incident was the third for the month resulting in a worker being injured.
Brown said in the other two incidents a woman pushed a door and hit a doctor because she did not want to wait, and a man pulled a knife on another doctor after he was told to wait.(Jamaica Observer)

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