Written By: T. Chapman
25th June 2016
St. Kitts and Nevis, (SKNP) – The recent press release from the Federal Government debunking claims by Dr. Patrick Martin of a Stem Cell Project at the JNF Hospital and the announcement of Dr. Patrick Martin being sent on pre-retirement leave, at the end of which his services as the country’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) will be terminated, has become a hot issue here in St. Kitts. The ramifications of the Stem Cell Project has unearthed the incompetence within Ministry of Health.
Speaking on Freedom’s daily radio program Issues on Friday, Dr. Terrance Drew, Dr. Asim Martin and Hon. Marcella Liburd addressed the Regenerative Medicine Project.
The representatives of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party outlined that the Regenerative Medicine Project is the Biggest Scandal in Health Care to occur in St. Kitts.
Addressing the issue, the representatives noted that any research project must be protected. Dr. Drew in his capacity as a Medical practitioner outlined that Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research are one of the same. This was his response to comments made by Senator Phipps in an address on Regenerative Medicine on Thursday evening.
Hon. Liburd reiterated that as the drama continues to unfold in the Ministry of Health, it ought to be noted that presently the government is operating without a Chief Medical Officer, a Permanent Secretary and a Coordinator for Non-communicable diseases. The MP further emphasised that their is a communication breakdown between Junior and Senior Ministers in Health as well as Junior Minister and Advisor in Health, Mrs. Condor.
Further, the SKNLP representatives went on to state that the project has ethical, moral and legal implications.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party is of the view that if the Cabinet sanctioned such a project without the approval of the Chief Medical Officer and the Medical Board then the law was broken. Normally, details outlining credentials, the scope of works, persons involved and other requisites are to be presented to the CMO/Medical Board. A requirement under the Public Health Act and the Medical Act which were not met; thus both the Health and Medical Acts were breached.
Nonetheless, rooms at the hospital were allocated for the research project. The reps are of the view that problems could be derived as such procedures are suppose to be in isolated areas where one has control over the scope of works.
Dr. Drew read an excerpt of an article from the New York Times to illustrate the severity of the matter at hand:
(The surgeon gasped when he opened up his patient and saw what was in his spine. It was a huge mass, filling the entire part of the man’s lower spinal column.
“The entire thing was filled with bloody tissue, and as I started to take pieces, it started to bleed,” said Dr. John Chi, the director of Neurosurgical Spine Cancer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It was stuck to everything around it.”
He added, “I had never seen anything like it.”)
Click Link to read more: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/health/a-cautionary-tale-of-stem-cell-tourism.html
The Constituency #8 rep then stated irrespective of where patients are from the government has a moral obligation of protecting people’s health.
It is on this backdrop that the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party representatives have called for the resignation of the Junior and Senior Ministers of Health. According to MP. Marcella Liburd, they continue to contradict each other.
Callers to the program vented their frustrations; one caller termed the Senator as being “Dishonest”. Another caller stated, “they embarrass the country but trying to deny it”, the caller continued, apologize or lose they wuk”, clearly this project has created quite a stir in the Federation.