Categorized | Featured, Local, News

Doctors plan strike in indecent assault arrest

The news spread in a most unpredictable way and perhaps because of all the publicity and an awareness that is somehow not necessarily presented to curb the disturbing effects of a problem.

On Wednesday evening in the ZJB evening news a report which turned out to be shocking on the one hand and not so surprising on the other. “Police say they have arrested a medical practitioner for allegedly indecently assaulting a patient. A senior police officer told ZJB News that the investigation is in an infancy stage and that the medical doctor is now assisting the police with their investigation.

“The report of the alleged indecent assault by the doctor was made to the police by a young woman. The Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) in the middle of their 50th year celebration, is now appealing to members of the public who have suffered sexual or indecent assault at the hands of a medical practitioner on island to come forward with information.”

In a surprising move while early speculation had sadly turned wild over social media, some of the medical professionals and practitioners on island may appear to have somewhat unwisely broke protocol of procedure surrounding such incidents of a sexual nature with the police.

What followed was unpredictable and provoked comments and reaction, some which legal opinionists and even authorities are saying can or are already out of hand. It is to be noted that the news services were this time proper in that no name was mentioned as is expected, which left conjecture and guesses to play to occupy minds who relish such news.

Dr. Ingrid Buffonge along with surgeon specialist Dr. Bramiah Kassim, other medical doctors Gopal and wife Asha Gopal appeared live on ZJB Radio and pledged their strong support for so far, the unnamed medical practitioner.

ZJB’s Basil Chambers was the host. “We are here as a team, as a group of doctors, in support for our colleague, Dr. …” Dr. Buffonge began, expressing disappointment for what she said, “the way the whole thing was managed…”

Dr. Buffonge, almost in passing mentioned that the doctors “today we’re on strike, seeing emergencies only.” But she had added: “As medical professionals we spend a lot of time with patients and therefore we’re particularly vulnerable to accusations like this and therefore I think as a team we’ve got to put things in place to make sure that such things don’t happen again. There are some doctors who do not see patients unless there is a chaperone there and of course as you can imagine in private practice this would cost money it might mean that private practitioners have to double their fees or at least increase.”

Dr. Buffonge also said, “We spent the morning with him in court just to let him know he has our support,” she added, saying the strongly believe that their colleague is innocent.

The doctors revealed that while in court they learnt that the charges were brought  on the accusation that the Doctor had touched the woman’s breasts, her abdomen and her buttocks.

Dr. Kassim meantime, made the added point showing concern and expressing that he was troubled: “If you have to walk into a doctor’s office and get examined and you come out and you can go to the police station and accuse this person who you went to see as assaulting you with the mere fact that you have been examined, is really serious.”

His worst concern: “Now, the second aspect of this which is what troubles me most is that by just going to the police station and telling somebody that then you as a physician get arrested. One after you get arrested your image has been tarnished as somebody who actually touches patients or assault patients in their office and then at the end of all when everything is finished and the core process is over the procedure is over and you say then it comes out that that was really not the fact then what happened?” He asks further, “What happens with your image? Who clears that image?”

The other two doctors gave their support saying they endorse what the previous two practitioners had said, concurring the allegation against Dr Perkins was a serious ‘indictment’, (accusation) of the medical profession on Montserrat. One of these doctors said he was very uncomfortable with the thought that he can end up in the ‘lock-up’, so, “I’m leaving – its goodbye Montserrat.”

By the end of the day reacting to statements of strike by the doctors, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Lowell Lewis said that there were no disruptions to services at the Glendon Hospital or health centres, adding that there will be no scarcity of the services provided by the dedicated medical professionals on the island. He told ZJB News Wednesday afternoon that there were no disruptions to services at the Glendon Hospital or Health Centres on island.

He confirmed all doctors reported for regular duty which they perform up to four p.m. The C.M.O. says the government is now making arrangements to recruit a local physician to cover the services of Dr Perkins who is on leave, with regards to the on-going matter involving Dr Perkins the island’s most senior medical doctor says the medical fraternity has no intention to undermine the process of law and will contribute to serving the people of Montserrat or that should be continue to serve the people of Montserrat as they have for many years.

Soon after the doctors made their feelings known on the issue, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Oris Sullivan did not see or accept any of the points of the doctors, but accused them of not allowing due process to take its course, saying the comments were highly inappropriate and disappointing.

I think it’s highly improper and downright wrong for any doctor or anybody else to go on public radio and comment on a matter that is pending before the court,” DPP Sullivan began in an aired comment to ZJB radio.

Sullivan continued: “One has to be mindful of the right to a fair trial that is on the part of the accused, but also there’s a right for any complainant to have the matter ventilated before the court and in fairness to the complainant that is where the issue should be resolved. Potential jurors are listening the entire population of Montserrat could potentially be jurors on this matter and to go on the radio to me [is] tantamount to trying to influence potential jurors in this matter. But to potential victims it would seem to me that when doctors are involved the potential victims who have some kind of fear or reluctance in going to doctors knowing the position they have taken with regards to one of their number.”

But it wasn’t just the DPP who did not find favour with the doctors. A women’s support group released a statement communicating its disappointment in what it described as the dismissal of this young woman’s claims by respected medical professionals.

As reported, the Women’s Resource Centre’s (MWRC) ‘voluntary’ Executive Director Shirley Osborne labelled as very unfortunate and discouraging the fact that the onus was always on the girls and women in Montserrat to prove the allegations rather than on the alleged perpetrators to disprove them.

Saying that is aware of the allegations and recent arrest of Dr. Perkins and wishes that none of this were true, the group says it is deeply disturbed that any young woman on Montserrat ever has grounds to make reports of this nature. In the statement, the centre says it stands in support of this young woman and all other victims and alleged victims of gender based assault.

In the Statement: “It is very unfortunate and discouraging that the onus is always on the girls and women in Montserrat to prove their allegations rather than on the alleged perpetrators to disprove them.

“Everywhere in the world, girls and women who feel or find themselves sexually assaulted to any degree, almost always also find themselves having to prove that they are telling the truth, that their word is as good as other people’s and that it is not their fault and they did not somehow “cause” the unwanted attention,” Osborne added.

Ms Osborne said that the MWRC would have preferred that everyone have accorded the legal system the opportunity to work and provide justice for both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator and is cautioning “all concerned or interested to trust our system to do its work”.

Leave a Reply

Newsletter

The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

https://indd.adobe.com/view/fefbe432-457e-4ac8-8976-c4a380014263

Archives

The news spread in a most unpredictable way and perhaps because of all the publicity and an awareness that is somehow not necessarily presented to curb the disturbing effects of a problem.

On Wednesday evening in the ZJB evening news a report which turned out to be shocking on the one hand and not so surprising on the other. “Police say they have arrested a medical practitioner for allegedly indecently assaulting a patient. A senior police officer told ZJB News that the investigation is in an infancy stage and that the medical doctor is now assisting the police with their investigation.

“The report of the alleged indecent assault by the doctor was made to the police by a young woman. The Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) in the middle of their 50th year celebration, is now appealing to members of the public who have suffered sexual or indecent assault at the hands of a medical practitioner on island to come forward with information.”

Insert Ads Here

In a surprising move while early speculation had sadly turned wild over social media, some of the medical professionals and practitioners on island may appear to have somewhat unwisely broke protocol of procedure surrounding such incidents of a sexual nature with the police.

What followed was unpredictable and provoked comments and reaction, some which legal opinionists and even authorities are saying can or are already out of hand. It is to be noted that the news services were this time proper in that no name was mentioned as is expected, which left conjecture and guesses to play to occupy minds who relish such news.

Dr. Ingrid Buffonge along with surgeon specialist Dr. Bramiah Kassim, other medical doctors Gopal and wife Asha Gopal appeared live on ZJB Radio and pledged their strong support for so far, the unnamed medical practitioner.

ZJB’s Basil Chambers was the host. “We are here as a team, as a group of doctors, in support for our colleague, Dr. …” Dr. Buffonge began, expressing disappointment for what she said, “the way the whole thing was managed…”

Dr. Buffonge, almost in passing mentioned that the doctors “today we’re on strike, seeing emergencies only.” But she had added: “As medical professionals we spend a lot of time with patients and therefore we’re particularly vulnerable to accusations like this and therefore I think as a team we’ve got to put things in place to make sure that such things don’t happen again. There are some doctors who do not see patients unless there is a chaperone there and of course as you can imagine in private practice this would cost money it might mean that private practitioners have to double their fees or at least increase.”

Dr. Buffonge also said, “We spent the morning with him in court just to let him know he has our support,” she added, saying the strongly believe that their colleague is innocent.

The doctors revealed that while in court they learnt that the charges were brought  on the accusation that the Doctor had touched the woman’s breasts, her abdomen and her buttocks.

Dr. Kassim meantime, made the added point showing concern and expressing that he was troubled: “If you have to walk into a doctor’s office and get examined and you come out and you can go to the police station and accuse this person who you went to see as assaulting you with the mere fact that you have been examined, is really serious.”

His worst concern: “Now, the second aspect of this which is what troubles me most is that by just going to the police station and telling somebody that then you as a physician get arrested. One after you get arrested your image has been tarnished as somebody who actually touches patients or assault patients in their office and then at the end of all when everything is finished and the core process is over the procedure is over and you say then it comes out that that was really not the fact then what happened?” He asks further, “What happens with your image? Who clears that image?”

The other two doctors gave their support saying they endorse what the previous two practitioners had said, concurring the allegation against Dr Perkins was a serious ‘indictment’, (accusation) of the medical profession on Montserrat. One of these doctors said he was very uncomfortable with the thought that he can end up in the ‘lock-up’, so, “I’m leaving – its goodbye Montserrat.”

By the end of the day reacting to statements of strike by the doctors, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Lowell Lewis said that there were no disruptions to services at the Glendon Hospital or health centres, adding that there will be no scarcity of the services provided by the dedicated medical professionals on the island. He told ZJB News Wednesday afternoon that there were no disruptions to services at the Glendon Hospital or Health Centres on island.

He confirmed all doctors reported for regular duty which they perform up to four p.m. The C.M.O. says the government is now making arrangements to recruit a local physician to cover the services of Dr Perkins who is on leave, with regards to the on-going matter involving Dr Perkins the island’s most senior medical doctor says the medical fraternity has no intention to undermine the process of law and will contribute to serving the people of Montserrat or that should be continue to serve the people of Montserrat as they have for many years.

Soon after the doctors made their feelings known on the issue, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Oris Sullivan did not see or accept any of the points of the doctors, but accused them of not allowing due process to take its course, saying the comments were highly inappropriate and disappointing.

I think it’s highly improper and downright wrong for any doctor or anybody else to go on public radio and comment on a matter that is pending before the court,” DPP Sullivan began in an aired comment to ZJB radio.

Sullivan continued: “One has to be mindful of the right to a fair trial that is on the part of the accused, but also there’s a right for any complainant to have the matter ventilated before the court and in fairness to the complainant that is where the issue should be resolved. Potential jurors are listening the entire population of Montserrat could potentially be jurors on this matter and to go on the radio to me [is] tantamount to trying to influence potential jurors in this matter. But to potential victims it would seem to me that when doctors are involved the potential victims who have some kind of fear or reluctance in going to doctors knowing the position they have taken with regards to one of their number.”

But it wasn’t just the DPP who did not find favour with the doctors. A women’s support group released a statement communicating its disappointment in what it described as the dismissal of this young woman’s claims by respected medical professionals.

As reported, the Women’s Resource Centre’s (MWRC) ‘voluntary’ Executive Director Shirley Osborne labelled as very unfortunate and discouraging the fact that the onus was always on the girls and women in Montserrat to prove the allegations rather than on the alleged perpetrators to disprove them.

Saying that is aware of the allegations and recent arrest of Dr. Perkins and wishes that none of this were true, the group says it is deeply disturbed that any young woman on Montserrat ever has grounds to make reports of this nature. In the statement, the centre says it stands in support of this young woman and all other victims and alleged victims of gender based assault.

In the Statement: “It is very unfortunate and discouraging that the onus is always on the girls and women in Montserrat to prove their allegations rather than on the alleged perpetrators to disprove them.

“Everywhere in the world, girls and women who feel or find themselves sexually assaulted to any degree, almost always also find themselves having to prove that they are telling the truth, that their word is as good as other people’s and that it is not their fault and they did not somehow “cause” the unwanted attention,” Osborne added.

Ms Osborne said that the MWRC would have preferred that everyone have accorded the legal system the opportunity to work and provide justice for both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator and is cautioning “all concerned or interested to trust our system to do its work”.