(CMR) A cancer patient that was airlifted into Jamaica from Turks and Caicos (TCI) for treatment at The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) has tested positive for COVID-19 it was confirmed earlier today. The hospital's Head of Surgery Professor Joseph Plummer was placed under quarantine after coming in contact with the patient.
UHWI had confirmed that the patient was receiving ICU emergency surgery and treatment for “bleeding gastric cancer” on March 16 was released and returned home to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on March 26, 2020.
The patient returned to Jamaica on Thursday, April 16, 2020, via air ambulance and the medical personal team received them at the airport was said to be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). The university clarified:
“The patient was already intubated and had a viral filtration system. Based on the UHWI's screening form, at no time was the patient considered to be a COVID-19 patient, but out of an abundance of caution, the UHWI decided to test the patient. The result is positive and the patient remains stable in the COVID-19 ICU. All staff evaluation, assignment and quarantine have been done according to the hospital's protocol,”
The statement added that the critical nature of the patient's condition was discussed with the Emergency Operation Centre of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority.
Initially, the patient was taken to the regular ICU but once the patient was tested they were hastily taken to the COVID-19 ICU. There is some concern that some medical personnel would not have been wearing PPE and now have to self-quarantine and be tested. The general information coming out of the facility is that staff are not pleased with how this case was handled.
Jamaica's airport remains closed but they are accepting emergency patients such as this.