Trinidad minister promises to deal with ambulance service after child dies

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday January 30, 2012 – Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan has promised to take strong action against the ambulance service following the death of 21-month-old Akeel Simon shortly after he was reportedly denied emergency transportation to a hospital.

Simon, who had Down’s syndrome, a heart condition and an enlarged liver, was being rushed to the San Fernando General Hospital on Friday by his 25-year-old mother, Erin, when the vehicle she was travelling in developed mechanical problems.

She subsequently flagged down an ambulance, and said she was informed by those in the emergency vehicle that it is against policy to help persons like her on the road.

“I pleaded with them, but they say they couldn’t do it and drove off and left me in the middle of the road,” she recounted.

The minister said he was “disgusted with the lack of compassion” shown by the ambulance service. 

“I will be taking a harsh decision with respect to the ambulance service,” he said in a statement.

“As I have indicated, there is a need for decentralizing the ambulance service, placing it into the ambit of the Regional Health Authorities.  It is time that this inhumane behaviour by the ambulance service be brought to answer.”

The baby’s mother has called on the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) to investigate the incident.

“I am still in shock that it happened. I was left on the roadside holding a dead baby in my hands. I begged them to carry me to the hospital but they said it was against their policy. My son took his last breath in my hands and that hit me. All I know is that I end up in the middle of the road bawling. It hit me real hard,” she said.

Chairman of the SWRHA, Lackram Bodoe, said the matter will be investigated once a complaint has been made. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)