Tufton got it wrong!

Letters to the Editor

Tufton got it wrong!

Monday, August 03, 2020

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Dear Editor,

A recent tweet by Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton, and carried as a story in the Jamaica Observer of Friday, July 31, 2020, titled 'Port Maria Hospital operating theatre reopens after almost 30 years' aptly illustrates the famous statement by Patrick Moynihan: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not entitled to your own facts.”

The minister, at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new generator at the hospital, in his speech made the comment that the operating theatre was doing surgeries, albeit minor ones, after being closed for almost 30 years.

There is a recent tendency to rewrite history to suit the occasion and, in this instance, it was such a case.

The facts are: The very Jamaica Observer carried an almost similar headline story on Sunday, November 23, 2014, 'At Last! Operating theatre reopens at Port Maria Hospital', reporting on a function which took place a few weeks earlier with the opening by then Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson of the refurbished operating theatre and a new generator commissioning, with total cost of refurbishing and generator amounting to $31 million and funded by the National Health Fund (NHF). The CEO of the NHF, who is still in that post, was also present at the occasion, as was myself in the capacity as Member of Parliament.

The Jamaica Information Service also reported on the function of the reopening and that can be accessed in its online archives.

The operating theatre then was also equipped with a top-class operating table, an anaesthetic machine, and an electrocoagulating machine.

Few minor surgeries were performed then by the medical officer in charge of the hospital, Dr Maurice Sloley. With the departure of Dr Sloley, and the further non-appointment of a surgeon, the theatre was not used and the Northeast Regional Health Authority (NERHA) repurposed some of the equipment to other hospitals in the region.

So, to say, as was erroneously done by the minister and published by the Observer that it is doing its first set of surgeries after being closed for 30 years is patently false and the records are there to prove that.

It is unfortunate that the minister did not advise himself properly of the facts as, had he done so, he would not now have egg on his face.

This is just to set the record straight.

Morais V Guy

Member of Parliament

St Mary Central


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