Elderly controversy

elderlyatqehOn March 6, 2013, one of our columnists, Tonia Husbands, writing under the heading Happy Being Me, produce an article in which she essentially paid tribute to her grandmother and the role she played in her development, and then commented on a growing problem in Barbados that has come to be known as granny dumping.

She questioned what would possess an individual to abandon his or her grandparents at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

She said in part: These elderly persons are the ones who helped shape Barbados to what it is today with their blood, sweat and tears. Many of us have to thank them for the roof that is above our heads. So tell me why anyone would neglect them at their ripe old age?

There are so many senior citizens homes and persons who can be hired to care for the elderly while the family members are at work, so there is no excuse why any elderly person should be abandoned at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I believe this subject has cut close to my heart because I was raised by my great grandmother, who lived to the ripe old age of 94. Never would she have had any fear of being abandoned anywhere.

I owe her so much as she has shaped the individual I am today. She taught me the ways of the world. She was my shoulder to cry on when I needed it. Never would I have abandoned her when I found out that she was dying of cancer, which affected her liver. She meant so much to me and to this day I miss her terribly.

I would honestly support any legislation that is passed to bring to justice anyone who abandons the elderly. I believe that just announcing the hospital’s plight of lack of beds due to abandonment in the media is not enough. The hospital needs to bring to light the names of those families who have done such terrible acts.

In writing this column I am still in totally shock that anyone could be so heartless. I can only imagine what those elderly persons are going through laying in a hard bed, in a strange environment and not being able to go home.

Subsequent to this publication, the author and Barbados TODAY have received some strong criticism, both for her comments and the photograph that accompanied the item. Included on this page are two of the [unedited] emails sent to Husbands.

We wish to make it clear that we accept that we are not above scrutiny, that we welcome criticism and are not afraid to make that criticism public. On this occasion though, we stand firmly behind our columnist and support 100 per cent the stance she has taken.

For the record, however, we point out that the picture published was neither taken by us nor solicited. In fact, it was one of a number made public by the administration of the QEH at a press conference on February 25 to illustrate their concern that several dozen of beds in the institution were taken up by elderly persons, who according to them, had been abandoned by their families.

We take it for granted that officials of the hospital are aware of the persons of whom they speak and we will not attempt to make a case for or against them.

What we do reiterate is that we stand by our columnist.

Roy R. Morris


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