By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St Kitts, April 19, 2020 – Persons who have been quarantined have been waiting for weeks for their COVID-19 results, prompting medical internist Dr Terrance Drew to raise the issue publicly.
Dr Drew, in an open letter to Senior Health Minister, Hon Eugene Hamilton and Junior Health Minister, Sen the Hon Wendy Phipps, submitted that for 21 days now there have been some missing tests results for COVID-19.
“This became very obvious when we were told a week ago that tests were done on Monday and the results came back on Tuesday. The country was in shock as the citizens recognized that tests done previously were not revealed but were categorized as pending,” said Dr Drew, who indicated that a number of persons who are quarantined were awaiting these results.
“For the last few weeks they were told to hold on, results not ready. Now they have learnt that the tests were not done. Is this not blatant dishonesty?
One of the patients I spoke to cried because for three weeks he was quarantined with no human contact and to now hear that the test was not done broke his heart. Imagine no sunlight, no direct human interaction for three weeks. This is heartbreaking indeed,” Dr Drew said.
He asked: “Why were these persons misled? Where are the test results? What else is missing? Can we trust ministers Hamilton and Phipps with such wanton mishandling of results that can mean life or death?”
Dr Drew is of the view that the Ministry of Health must have known within a week that the results would not become available but for some reason the country nor patients were informed.
He is further of the view that to handle any crisis there is a need for “competency, honesty and transparency.”
“This issue of missing tests reveals that these are totally lacking. Is this the model that all other countries should follow?” he asked.
Dr Drew said the quarantined persons are now repeating those tests about 21 days later and it is a high possibility that they will all be negative given the length of time unless they do antibody testing which the authorities have rejected thus far.
“We must do better. I call for an official explanation and apology from the Hon Eugene Hamilton for misleading the public and for the suffering caused to the patients and their family members who waited for results that would never come. Minister Hamilton and junior Minister Wendy Phipps dropped the ball and answers must be given! The country is waiting!,” said Dr Drew.