18 Mar 2011

Act 2–the Sacking

CEO of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) Paula Chester-Cumberbatch, has been fired with immediate effect. The situation is suspicious, since it immediately follows her failure to promptly send suspension letters to the doctors and nurses involved in the death of patient Chrystal Boodoo-Ramsoomair, who died after a Caesarean section.

Now, I am not sure the Board who fired her is entirely wrong, or entirely right. These matters fall under many grey areas and it’s best left to the lawyers to decide. I’m sure both sides can cite support from the law.

The story conflicts itself however:

[Chairman of the Board Dr. Lackram] Bodoe said the sacking had nothing to do with the suspensions.

However, further down the article we find:

The decision to have Chester-Cumberbatch's services terminated was taken at the board's statutory meeting, said Bodoe.

Bodoe said a meeting was held with the chief executive officer on Wednesday to determine whether the board's instructions to suspend the staff members were carried out.

I do believe that Ms Chester-Cumberbatch was foolhardy to ignore the directives of the Board, and that she also may have (directly or indirectly) interfered with the process of the investigation of the death of the patient.

It is well documented that patients notes go ‘missing’. Suspending the medical staff was a decision designed perhaps to minimise this, though said staff can undoubtedly pick up a phone and arrange with any colleague for the relevant files to ‘disappear’. I am not saying this WILL happen; I am saying it possibly MAY happen. So I can well understand the Board’s decision to suspend, with pay, the staff involved. That is also done here in the UK.

What I don’t believe is the Board’s reason for the sacking, making it sound like two separate issues. It MAY be two separate issues but coming almost simultaneously? It doesn’t gel.

Bodoe said a meeting was held with the chief executive officer on Wednesday to determine whether the board's instructions to suspend the staff members were carried out.

He explained the new SWRHA board had reviewed its vision and strategic direction and found certain adjustments were needed, among them, the termination of the chief executive officer.

"Therefore, the two matters are not directly related. And it would not be true to say that the matters are related," he said.

Whatever else may happen, this issue does not end here. More will undoubtedly follow.

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