There are stories in circulation on social media about the medical management of a child and family in the Accident and Emergency Department at the QEH.
Due to our commitment to patient privacy and confidentiality we cannot disclose any specific patient details but I can say that the representation of the situation as shared via WhatsApp is inaccurate as my investigation into the matter indicates that several important details are false.
During this pandemic, doctors (especially Paediatricians) have to balance multiple responsibilities. First and foremost is the duty of care to the child patient to ensure their well-being. Respect for the wishes of parents is also taken into consideration but must be balanced with advocacy for any concerns affecting the minor.
In addition, the safety of the public, hospital staff and other patients is essential at this time. We do acknowledge that an individual has the right to refuse a COVID-19 PCR test.
However, to ensure public safety, clear national protocols have been issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) and these protocols state that in the event that a suspected COVID-19 positive individual refuses to undergo PCR testing, the individual will be required to quarantine for a period of 14 days at a MOHW approved facility.
These facilities are established and managed directly by the MOHW and the Harrisons Point Isolation is not one of them as it is solely for the treatment of confirmed COVID-19 positive individuals.
Individual choices must be balanced against the protection of others if we are to win the multiple battles in the war against COVID, especially given our small community and being the sole public hospital.
We will therefore continue to do what is in the best interest of the majority by strictly adhering to the protocols established by the MOHW to prevent other persons from potentially being exposed to COVID-19.