Western News

'We will not cower'

CRH medical personnel vow to continue serving public, despite attack

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter

Thursday, May 08, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James

Medical personnel assigned to the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay, have vowed to continue serving the public, despite the demoralising effect last week's shooting and injuring of their colleague, Dr Debbie Tyghter, a consultant

anaesthesiologist, is having on them.

"It (the shooting) is heart-rending to us. It has left us in a very, very sad state. But, we have to press on. We have to press on with what we are here to do and trust she (Tyghter) will continue to do well and see to her speedy recovery that she can return to work," Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at the CRH, Dr Delroy Fray told the Jamaica Observer West last evening.

Similar sentiments were echoed by CEO of the medical institution, Anthony Smikle.

"As Dr Fray has said we still press on. We won't be daunted by persons who are of a devious nature and we won't cower," an adamant Smikle declared.

Dr Fray, however, expressed that there is growing fear among medical personnel who have to work at nights, in the wake of the shooting incident.

"I have to discuss now with my CEO what measures we are going to have to put in place if people (hospital staff) have to move at nights because there is a fear. And this fear is going to be there for a while. Because if people are fearful you are not going to work to your full capacity. So, the growing fear has affected our operation here significantly," the SMO argued.

Smikle in the meantime, revealed that plans are being made to implement safety measures for medical personnel on night duty.

"We may have to look at hopefully short term measures to ensure that the officers who have to come out at nights feel safe.

"We can't say right now what exactly what those plans are, but we have some ideas of what we need to do, and as we go by we'll notify the persons who we will assist in that way," Smikle explained.

Members of the medical fraternity were sent reeling in shock and dismay in the aftermath of Friday night's shooting of Tyghter.

Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson, in a response, condemned the incident and urged the police to do whatever possible to apprehend her attackers.

The anaesthesiologist was on the same table which, just an hour earlier, she administered to a patient who underwent surgery at the hospital.

She was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at CRH where she remained last night in a critical, but stable condition.

Police reports are that about 8:30 pm last Friday, the medical doctor was shot by one of two men who pounced on her at her gate in West Gate Hills, an upscale community in Montego Bay.

Dr Fray noted that the incident has triggered safety concerns among the many doctors who live in the West Gate Hills community.

"There is definitely concerns among members of the profession. I can tell you this, we have a lot of doctors living in the West Gate area and they are now thinking of moving out of the West Gate area because you can well imagine how the incident has affected them," he pointed out.

He recounted the tense atmosphere which prevailed in the waiting area last Friday night, as staff members waited for their colleague to pull through emergency operation.

"The night when I entered the theatre, most of our staff who were on call were sitting in the waiting area- not a word from anyone. They were sitting there and a lot of people were just there praying. And we were in that tense situation until the surgery was completed," he noted.

Yesterday, the SMO said he is heartened at the pace of the injured doctor's recovery and the support she has been receiving from several quarters.

"The nature of her injury is as such that she lost a lot of blood and the speed in which she was treated has a lot to do with her recovery so far. The support which we have had from everybody- administrative, doctors, everyone- was enormous," said Dr Fray.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Cornwall Regional Hospital Management Committee Calvin G Brown, who condemned the shooting and has called for the police to act speedily to bring the perpetrators to justice, has heaped praises on the doctors who are treating their injured colleague.

"What you have to also look at is the quality and level of doctors who we have here to take care of this type of injury. Normally, you would have to take a patient like this to Kingston but because of what we have put together here in terms of the ICU....... because of the equipment that we have, the level of skill of the doctors that we have, we are able to take care of this in such a manner, ensuring that, based on what Dr Fray is saying, she is doing well at this time, Brown expressed.

Meanwhile, head of the St James police division Senior Superintendent Egbert Parkins has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

He revealed that a man who was picked up in connection with the shooting incident has since been questioned and released.

According to SSP Parkins, investigators are getting a lot of co-operation from citizens who are upset over the shooting of someone who works to save lives.

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