Officials with the Health Services
Authority have confirmed that an emergency medical technician was dismissed
from the ambulance service late last year and that another was suspended over
the way they responded to a patient who later died from the H1N1 virus.
Emergency Medical Services Director
Stephen Duval declined to discuss the specifics of the case, but he confirmed
the EMT was released from the ambulance service following a disciplinary
“There was an internal investigation,
a decision was made and he is no longer with us,” Mr. Duval said.
The patient, a 31-year-old male,
died at the Cayman Islands
Hospital on 20 July.
Health Services Authority officials didn’t identify H1N1 as the cause of his
death until Friday, 25 July when preliminary tests from a Trinidadian lab
indicated that the H1N1 strain had been detected.
Local tests done on the patient had
initially produced a negative result for the H1N1 virus.
The man had been a resident at
Caribbean Haven – a substance abuse treatment facility – prior to his death.
According to sources familiar with
the case, ambulance crews had been called out to treat Mr. Julian twice prior
to his hospitalisation and eventual death. The calls occurred about a week
On the first instance, they did not
transport him to hospital.
The reasons for the non-transport
were not discussed by Mr. Duval and Caymanian Compass attempts to contact the
EMTs involved were not returned by press time.
The issue came to light when North
Side MLA Ezzard Miller posed a parliamentary question to the government about
the situation on Wednesday.
Mr. Miller asked Health Minister
Mark Scotland whether Health Services Authority Medical Director, Dr. Greg Hoeksema,
has been directly involved in the decision to dismiss the EMT “as a result of
the only reported death of a patient with the H1N1 virus”.
Mr. Scotland said Mr. Hoeksema did not
participate in the dismissal procedure.
When contacted about the situation,
Mr. Hoeksema told the Compass that health services officials consider all
personnel actions confidential and declined to discuss the matter further.
“An internal human resources
process was followed in the referenced case,” he said.