Thursday 16 July, 2020

CMO: Leaking of info on COVID-19 patient a breach of confidentiality

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram has responded to the circulation of a document on social media, alleged to contain personal information relating to the death of an elderly COVID-19 patient.

The document contained the name of the patient, his address and other confidential medical information.

United National Congress (UNC) activist Devant Maharaj was among those who shared the information on his personal Twitter account.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Parasram said he has asked the CEO to look into the breach.

"The information that you have you should not have had in the first place. The information you got is circulating from someone's private notes that was sent out through Facebook.

It's a breach in patient confidentiality. I have already spoken to the CEO to find out how that breach occurred. It should not be out in the public, it is too much information," he said.

According to the document, the patient came into the country in February, but did not present any symptoms until mid-March.

Parasram was asked by the media as to whether this case constitutes an imported one based on timeframe outlined.

The Chief Medical Officer said he would have gotten the information from the doctors who saw the patients.

However, he said there are outliers in every viral illness.

"It is a new virus, all of us are working with 14 days...There are outliers in every viral illness," he said.

Meanwhile, the CMO also defended the Government's decision to not immediately release information about the COVID-19 related death.

He said the right protocols were followed, as the relatives of the patient had to be contacted first.

"The relatives need to be informed first and that is key. When that occurred we would have taken all the necessary steps to communicate with the family. Some of the relatives are abroad and I don't want to say too much about it to let out information.

Could you imagine if your relative has passed away, we go right ahead, as soon as we get the results send that out in the press and you find out in the press? How would you feel? So we have to ensure that the family is well informed prior to doing anything in the press."

It comes after questions were raised about the gap between the death and the release of the information.

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