A doctor at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope who recently tested positive for COVID-19 believes he did not contract the virus in a clinical setting but via community spread.
While defending the hospital and its safety protocols yesterday, even as the overall number of cases across the country rose to 629, the doctor, a well-known thoracic surgeon, admitted he was now “terrified” and in a traumatic state at this point after contracting the virus.
“Not only do I have COVID to deal with…on both a personal and work basis for my parents, but I now have to deal with lies. This actually has a greater impact than you know,” said the doctor, who requested anonymity.
The doctor was identified in a social media post as having contracted the virus and allegedly risking the health of patients and hospital staff after he continued working. The post also stated that the doctor’s wife tested positive.
“You knew you contracted it and had symptoms since August 5. You did not isolate or quarantine but you decided to attend work and spread your virus. You should be charged and your medical license should be revoked provided your sorry a** survives COVID-19,” the post stated.
The top surgeon denied the allegation, however, saying the attack on social media had demoralised his colleagues.
“All I can say is that the information (post) was completely wrong. I informed my boss as soon as everything was there. The timeline is quite clear which can be tracked. For someone who has been doing this for a long time, it has hurt me enough. As nasty and wrong as it was, about me personally, the fact is, the virus is out there,” he said.
He added, “We are short on volunteers because of the fear of working with COVID patients and at a time when we need more from our healthcare workers.”
Giving details of the days before he became aware he may have had the virus, the doctor said he was swabbed and signed a 14-day quarantine agreement to stay at home until the results came back.
“I was in isolation as soon as they said it was a possibility. In fact, my team also went into isolation, it was not just me. There are other doctors as well. We have been pretty rigid about this.”
Unfortunately, the doctor, who has been asymptomatic from day one, said the results came back positive and he had to be warded. He, however, refused to say how long he had been hospitalised and when he will be given clearance by doctors to go home.
The Health Ministry, he said, was also able to notify all the individuals he came in contact with.
“They are all in isolation and have been swabbed. And luckily nobody has been tested positive so far.”
The doctor said the disease does not discriminate and pleaded with citizens to follow health protocols to protect their lives.
“We all know the people are not following through with the guidance. This disease can hit everybody. As far as it goes, you have to be careful out there. I don’t think I got it from a patient, you know.”
Pressed as to where he may have contracted the virus, he said he had no idea.
“I don’t think it was from a patient because we have been very rigid with our protocols in the hospital.”
Asked if he picked it up from his wife, the surgeon said the person who put the post on social media seemed to know more than him and “has to prove that.”
Insisting he has “done everything by the book,” the doctor said, “So that is what I have been telling people, yes, I got it (virus). I am sure it is community spread. Be careful!”
Contacted yesterday, North Central Regional Health Authority CEO Davlin Thomas, under whose purview the EWMSC falls, defended the doctor, saying evidence has shown he was not symptomatic.
“The facts do not correlate with the allegations so far,” Thomas told Guardian Media in an interview.
Thomas said the hospital was currently completing a report on the matter.
“As more people test positive for COVID-19, we will have a corresponding increase in those kinds of allegations. We have people who, in order to save the lives of other people, are in the frontline.”
He said healthcare workers have been wearing their PPE to protect themselves and patients.
“He is one of our premium surgeons. He is a committed and devoted member of staff. Our people are risking their lives,” Thomas said.