A Jamaican woman, who is the widow of a T&T national, has threatened to sue the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) over its decision to refuse her two diagnostics tests for her heart condition because of her nationality.
Lawyers representing the woman, whose identity was withheld by this newspaper as the issue relates to her medical condition, made the threat in a legal letter sent to the NCRHA’s Chief Executive Officer Davlin Thomas, late last week.
According to the legal correspondence obtained by Guardian Media, the woman suffered a heart attack on July 17 last year, and sought treatment at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope, which falls under the management of the NCRHA.
Two days later, the woman underwent surgery to insert a heart stent after she presented her marriage certificate.
After recovering from the surgery, the woman was advised by doctors to join the hospital’s heart clinic for post-operative care.
However, the woman was denied the opportunity to join as she is not a T&T national.
Her lawyer Jason Jones stated that she suffered a second heart attack, last Tuesday, and was given emergency treatment at the hospital.
“It is probable that this most recent cardiac event could have been prevented and/or mitigated had our client been permitted to join the Heart Clinic in compliance with the advice of her doctors,” Jones said.
Jones noted that his client cannot leave T&T without the express permission of the Chief Immigration Officer because of her tenuous immigration status and cannot afford to have the coronary angiogram and echocardiogram, which she requires, done privately. “If our client does not receive the tests, to put it plainly, she fears that she faces imminent death,” Jones said.
He suggested that the NCRHA’s position is tantamount to condemning her to never receive the treatment she requires.
“When one considers the fact that our client, as a non-national, would appear to be eligible for expensive and risky emergency care, it seems all the more irrational that she is not entitled to the life-preserving tests and/or treatment that would obviate the need for further emergency care,” he said.
Jones gave Thomas until midday today to respond to the legal threat before he files a lawsuit over the issue.
Guardian Media understands that Jones did not receive a response, up to late yesterday.
The woman is also being represented by Matthew Gayle.