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Following claims of negligence in the death of Erin resident Carol Joseph-Alexander, a medical doctor and Opposition MP says the public health system failed her.

“The circumstances surrounding the untimely death of 63-year-old Carol Joseph-Alexander at the Point Fortin Area Hospital highlights many of the shortcomings in the public health system under this government,” said Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe and former chairman of the South West Regional Health Authority.

In an interview with Guardian Media, Joseph-Alexander’s daughters Vearle and Candace Joseph blamed the lack of care and treatment by the staff at the Point Fortin Area Hospital for the death of their mother. They said their mother went to the hospital with chest pains around midday on January 23 and was discharged that night even though she was still in pain.

They said as she left the casualty department, she began to vomit and felt unwell.

When they attempted to have her see a doctor, nurses informed them she would have to go over the triage process again, before care was administered. While in the waiting room, their mother collapsed and was unconsciousness.

Joseph-Alexander died a few hours later.

In a statement, Bodoe said, “If the account given by her daughters, surrounding her death, as reported in today’s Trinidad Guardian Newspaper, is correct, then the authorities have much to explain.”

The former SWRHA head added it was “inexcusable” that a patient could be allowed to collapse while awaiting a “second” triage.

He said, “The attitude of the attending nurses, as reported, leaves much to be desired and speaks to the need to treat with the few who continue to sully the name of the profession and sabotage the otherwise good work of the great majority of nurses in Trinidad and Tobago.”

He called on Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh to launch an immediate investigation.

Meanwhile, the SWRHA has received a formal complaint and has commissioned a preliminary investigation into the matter.

It also extended condolences to Joseph-Alexander’s family.

The SWRHA assured that the findings of its investigation and a detailed report will be shared with the relatives.