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Tufton sets record straight following crew member's miscarriage

BY MARK CUMMINGS
Editor-at-Large
cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 22, 2020

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has broken his silence on the issue surrounding the Jamaican crew member aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise line's Adventure of the Seas , who reportedly had a miscarriage hours before the vessel arrived at the Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier on Tuesday.

Speaking at a media briefing at the pier in Trelawny yesterday, Dr Tufton said officials on the vessel rescinded the request to evacuate the expectant mother who had been in distress.

“The report that I have, and I did ask for a report, is that there was correspondence between the vessel and the authorities here on the ground, and [the] correspondence led to arrangements to be put in place for MEDEVAC arrangements to remove the person in question. However, there was a rescinding or a suspension, if you will, of that request by that vessel, and a request to hold until the vessel was docked in port, and the report was that things were okay and could await the docking of the vessel,” said the health and wellness minister.

He stressed that the health officials had complied with the request of the personnel on the vessel.

“We complied as a health authority with that change of request, and, in fact, when the vessel came in, there was an ambulance, there were doctors — including a senior medical officer — waiting on site to receive the patient in order to transport the patient to the hospital,” he said.

Added Dr Tufton: “There [has been] some information circulated in the media space suggesting that somehow the Government and the health authorities were complicit in the handling of this matter, and I just want to state categorically that we dialogued and we followed the instructions that were given, based on the communication with the vessel, and we were ready to treat with the patient as soon as the vessel docked here in Falmouth, at port. And while we expressed our sympathy with the patient and the challenges that she had to deal with, and we certainly will give her all the necessary support that she deserves, I think it is important to set the record straight and to correct the misinformation that is out there.”

The Jamaica Observer reported yesterday that the crew member, who has since been hospitalised, was 11 weeks pregnant. She added that her employees had done all they could to prevent the tragedy.

According to the woman, who did not want to be identified, she had begun feeling discomfort on Sunday, which later resulted in spotting.

She said the ship's management had started to make arrangements for her to be airlifted to Miami, but news came that the Jamaican Government, which became aware of the situation, had decided on a Jamaica Defence Force evacuation operation.

The helicopter, she said, never came.