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    Caribbean: Medical Care and the Death of My Son
    Tuesday, May 16 @ 12:05:30 UTC
    Trinidad and Tobago
    To my fellow Trinidadians:

    Many times, being busy with our normal lives, we do not take the time to analyze the day to day importance of living. For me that ended Thursday, May 11, 2006, with the death of my only son. I am certainly not the first grieving parent in Trinidad to lose a child to a car accident and poor healthcare but it never hits you until it happens to you.

    Not all the facts of my son's accident are fully understood as of yet, but this is what we do know for sure. The paramedic told my son not to dirty her shirt; family members to remove valuables because they will be stolen. There was no assessment of the injured, which lead to a delay for my son. The Mount Hope Medical Complex doctor did not speak English and was non-responsive to family questions. Comments that the Doctor was just "shipped in from the Congo" were heard. The hospital personnel told my 17-year-old daughter to hook her own brother to oxygen and connect an IV. Hospital security staff instead of watching the hospital entrance found it more interesting to watch my son scream and die.

    When my daughter tried to get additional medical help, the operator told her that "she better hope the connection works" because this is your last operator assisted telephone call. The operator told my daughter that she should have a cell telephone for times like this.

    The reason I am writing to you today is to ask each of you to let my son be the last victim of our current system. Between un-enforced speeding, drinking and driving, road rage, poor medical response and slow, unprepared trauma support in our hospitals, to doctor's and nurses who fail to practice the one common thread throughout the world of medicine, which is to "do no harm" and save lives. Not acting is the same as doing harm. To say that Trinidad killed my son would not be far from the truth.

    My son would be alive today if his accident took place in Canada, the United States, or another Modern City. In Trinidad, you must accept whatever you get. Airlifting a critically injured patient is common practice with professionally trained and equipped staff waiting to offer immediate life saving care. In an emergency, the medical profession does not require permission to keep someone alive or to wait until he begins spitting up blood to consider internal injuries.

    In my son's case, my own daughter was removed from the hospital for trying to insist the staff of Mount Hope Medical Complex do something for my son - screaming in agony. They performed a x-ray to ensure a leg was broken but somehow failed to consider internal injuries until he started bleeding from his mouth. I was there so I know.

    There have been excuses, explanations offered, and confusion with this or that, but in the end, due to no action, I have lost my only son. His death must have meaning and I can accept his sacrifice, if we as a country can join the modern world and fix the important issues facing us. Is there anything more precious than the love of a child? Are greed and no action really what Trinidad wants for itself?

    Let my son be the last child to die in Trinidad for lack of caring.

    A grieving father, a Trinidadian and someone hopeful for all the remaining children of our country.

    Bally Seetaram


     
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