Burglars steal critical medicine from hospital

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars worth of crit­i­cal med­ica­tion for pa­tients, in­clud­ing those with ter­mi­nal ill­ness­es such as can­cer, have been stolen from the phar­ma­cy at the St James Med­ical Com­plex (SJMC).

In an im­me­di­ate re­sponse to this “tragedy” that struck the health in­sti­tu­tion, act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at the North West Re­gion­al Health (NWRHA), Ter­ron Gilchrist con­demned the act and ques­tioned, “Why would some­one want to take God out of their thoughts and steal med­i­cine for the sur­vival of sick peo­ple?”

Speak­ing with the Guardian Me­dia on Wednes­day, Gilchrist as­sured that the phar­ma­cy had not been se­vere­ly af­fect­ed in dis­pers­ing drugs for in and out-pa­tients as they had re­stocked, “en­abling the op­er­a­tions to con­tin­ue smooth­ly.”

The in­ci­dent oc­curred some­time on Sun­day where the sus­pect or sus­pects gained en­try to the build­ing by pry­ing open a pad­lock of a bur­glar proof gate at the back of the build­ing.

The wood­en cup­boards in the phar­ma­cy de­part­ment were ran­sacked and the drugs were stolen. Pho­tos of the bare cup­boards and opened lock were shared with Guardian Me­dia.

A staff mem­ber, who spoke to Guardian Me­dia un­der strict anonymi­ty, said the theft came af­ter days the phar­ma­cy was ful­ly re­stocked and be­lieved it was “a pos­si­ble in­side job”.

The staff mem­ber al­so al­leged that there was a break-in un­der sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances in March.

Guardian Me­dia sent a sub­se­quent mes­sage to Gilchrist in­form­ing him of the claims made by the staff mem­ber and about the bur­glary in March, how­ev­er, up to press time no fur­ther com­ment was giv­en.

Gilchrist dur­ing the in­ter­view said the fa­cil­i­ty will soon get a tech­no­log­i­cal up­grade for se­cu­ri­ty rea­sons in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of “CCTV sur­veil­lance cam­eras, etc.”

NWRHA’s act­ing man­ag­er of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ane­sa Al­leyne, in a re­lease is­sued last evening, con­firmed that “a host of drugs for the treat­ment of Non-Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases (NCD’s) and in­fec­tious dis­eases were miss­ing.”

“In ad­dress­ing the in­ci­dent, the Au­thor­i­ty has re­viewed its cur­rent se­cu­ri­ty mea­sures at the phar­ma­cy de­part­ment and plans are in progress to im­prove the se­cu­ri­ty in­fra­struc­ture at the St James Med­ical Com­plex,” the re­lease stat­ed.

“The man­age­ment of the NWRHA con­demns this heinous act against vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients ac­cess­ing care at the St. James Med­ical Com­plex,” it added.

The Au­thor­i­ty said it re­main com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing a safe and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment for all our em­ploy­ees, pa­tients and per­sons vis­it­ing the SJMC and all in­sti­tu­tions un­der its purview.

The SJMC is the home to the Na­tion­al Ra­dio­ther­a­py Cen­tre, The Women’s Health Clin­ic and Eye Clin­ic. It has a 97-bed ca­pac­i­ty and al­so hous­es an ac­ci­dent and emer­gency de­part­ment which pro­vides 24-hour emer­gency med­ical treat­ment, a geron­tol­ogy ward, a phys­i­cal med­i­cine and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion unit, a ther­a­peu­tic care unit and the NWRHA’S Learn­ing Re­source Cen­tre.

Sup­port ser­vices in­clude phar­ma­cy, ra­di­ol­o­gy and lab­o­ra­to­ry ser­vices.

An in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­lice of­fi­cer from the St James Po­lice Sta­tion con­firmed that a man in his 20’s has been de­tained for ques­tion­ing.

Reporter: Rhondor Dowlat

Favourite count: 
Favourite count ids: