|Minnis denies PMH leaked outbreak details to FNM|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Aug 04, 2012
Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis denied that an administrator within Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) leaked him information about a bacteria outbreak in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez knew about it.
Minnis said it appeared that Gomez was trying to shift blame onto someone else, and it appears Gomez did not have a handle on ministerial responsibilities.
“He’s the minister and one of the first things you should have is proper communication between all your agencies,” Minnis said yesterday. “For him to have said that he was informed late, I think that’s very poor.”
He added: “There’s been no leak between myself and administration so he should not try to blame anybody he should take full responsibility for his ministry. Administrators are professionals and they informed me of nothing – he should not try and impugn their character.”
Minnis was responding to comments Gomez made in the House of Assembly on Thursday as he gave Parliamentarians a breakdown of the outbreak that killed two babies and sickened six others in NICU. The outbreak of Acinetobacter bauminii was first discovered in the hospital at the end of June.
Gomez also confirmed on Thursday that five people inside the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) tested positive for the bacteria but were “not ill”.
The first child infected with the bacterium died on July 4, the second on July 17 and an outbreak was declared on July 18. However, officials did not make the outbreak public until July 20. But Minnis questioned Gomez on the matter in the House of Assembly on July 18.
Last week, Gomez said the outbreak was not properly handled and that the hospital should have notified his ministry about the situation sooner.
On Thursday, Gomez said government will hire a Caribbean physician to investigate the hospital’s management of the outbreak.
Professor Stan Read, former chief of infectious diseases at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, has also been retained to help clear up the outbreak along with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Yesterday, Minnis commended the government for engaging international assistance in its investigation.
“Them involving PAHO is the right way to go. . .you would have PAHO come in and see what may have been the etiological factor and follow the advice of the international agencies. That is what all governments would usually do,” he said.