JAMAICA – Doc suspended
Salary of orthopaedic surgeon slashed in half
KINGSTON – The interdiction of the doctor who heads the orthopaedic clinic at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital in St Ann is now being questioned, with some ascribing political motive to the board’s decision to send
Dr Derrick McDowell was reportedly placed on interdiction on September 17 and his pay slashed in half on allegations that he refused to treat Steer Town resident Conroy Simpson, who had broken bones in his hands and a leg after crashing his motorbike on September 8.
Some St Ann’s Bay residents are questioning whether the move to suspend the doctor was politically motivated as Simpson is said to be a supporter of the governing People’s National Party (PNP).
They told the Jamaica Observer that the orthopaedic clinic, which sees dozens of patients each week, could face closure as equipment at the facility is owned by Dr McDowell, who could remove them if he is not reinstated
The Observer understands that McDowell conducted on average 12 operations on a Monday. He sees 120 patients on Tuesdays, then the department conducts another ten operations on Wednesdays, in addition to the daily emergency surgeries. On a Thursday, the department sees an average of 100 patients.
“All these people who are in need of treatment won’t have any attention because of this one man,” said a prominent member of the community, who asked not to be named. “How are you going to justify sending home the doctor over this man?”
The Observer was informed that the board suspended McDowell on allegation that he refused to treat Simpson, who was later transferred to the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.
But the Observer was informed that it was Simpson’s own actions that resulted in his having to be transferred without the operation being done.
According to an informed source, Simpson had failed to purchase the pins required for the surgery and so his broken arms and foot were put in plaster of Paris awaiting the surgery.
The Observer was informed that the behaviour at the hospital of person’s allegedly affiliated to the injured man forced the hospital’s administration to call in the police. In addition, threats were allegedly made by men on the lives of McDowell and nurses at the facility.
The decision was then reportedly taken by McDowell that it would be in the best interest of everyone to have Simpson transferred. But the source said that he had up to that point still not purchased the pins to do the surgery.
Tension is said to be high at the hospital as nurses and doctors now fear that they may be treated in a similar way to McDowell, who had served the hospital for 15 years, if they were faced with similar circumstances.
The Observer understands that McDowell will be mounting a legal challenge against his interdiction.