The Ministry of Health, on Wednesday, described as “deeply disturbing” a video of a woman lying unattended on the floor of the Accident and Emergency Ward of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital while several healthcare workers, including uniformed nurses, milled around.
In the 47-second video, which was widely circulated on social media, a nurse walks toward the woman, stands close to her and appears to be talking to another person, but does nothing to assist the woman who was lying on the floor.
The video appears to be have been recorded by a member of the public who was among persons awaiting attention at the ward of the hospital, the nation’s main healthcare facility.
It includes commentary by two unidentified women, who remark on the attitude of the hospital staff.
“They still have the lady lying there?” one woman asks.
Another responds: “Nobody ain’t even checking she pulse [or] nothing dread. And look at the nurse — a big sister; look at who have to go to the woman — the least qualified person… Why is the ward assistant going to she and the sister stand up right there?”
The circumstances surrounding how the woman came to be lying on the hospital floor are still unclear, but unconfirmed reports are that the woman was later admitted to the hospital.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Ministry of Health said the video was filmed one day earlier and that its contents are “deeply disturbing”.
“The Ministry expects a responsive and caring attitude to always be displayed to all persons who go to a health facility for services. The Ministry sincerely regrets this disturbing incident — it is entirely unacceptable,” the statement said.
It said that Minister of Health Senator Luke Browne and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Cuthbert Knights, met Wednesday morning with relevant staff and requested “urgent reports”.
The statement said the reports will be forwarded, through the permanent secretary, to the Service Commissions Department and will “form the basis for any further action if necessary.
“A thorough investigation has been ordered to ascertain the full facts,” the ministry said.
“Additionally, the Ministry takes this opportunity to report that the patient was treated and admitted to the hospital for continuing observation and care. The high performance standards that have been set by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment must be upheld,” the statement said.