Triage is a process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition.
Newsday learnt that the minister visited the department on July 10 at 8.30 pm when she accompanied her personal assistant whose child was ill. The child’s case was addressed, but the minister’s conduct during the two hours she spent at the department has troubled some health workers.
According to information received by Newsday the minister spoke to patients in the waiting areas about their complaints, and this was a breach of confidentiality; she then “personally triaged these patients according to her non-medical knowledge of triage, and brought them in the back area to be seen on an urgent basis.”
The minister directed a doctor to call the laboratory to get a dengue test done although the lab had already been notified about the urgency of the case. She asked for a nurse to be moved from the urgent area to help with the triage of patients. There was already a shortage of nursing personnel for the night shift since two staff members were absent.
A medical source described what happened at the paediatric emergency department as a “frightening incident”.
Asked to comment on the report Baptiste-Cornelis said, “No I was not triaging any patients.”
She said she went to the emergency department last Saturday as a worker of the ministry had a sick child. “The staff were pleased to meet me because they said I had not come there.”
Baptiste-Cornelis denied looking at patient’s notes, or intervening in patient’s seeking medical treatment.