SERHA Chairman Phillip Armstrong
Despite objections from the Parliamentary Opposition, the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) has stated that Dr. Patrece Charles Freeman will continue to lead the probe into the improper disposal of the bodies of two babies at Kingston Public Hospital.
Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr. Dayton Campbell on Monday raised concern that Dr. Charles Freeman is a director of SERHA which is responsible for KPH and it would therefore be a breach of the principles of natural justice and fairness for her to be investigating the matter.
But in an interview with RJR News Tuesday afternoon, SERHA Chairman Phillip Armstrong said he does not believe there is a conflict of interest.
"KPH and VJH are hospitals that fall under the remit of SERHA, therefore it's our responsibility to find out what went wrong and to address the issue," he argued.
Mr. Armstrong stressed that the matter is not a political issue.
He said there are two investigations ongoing, one of which is with the police to determine whether the matter is a criminal one. The second investigation will be lead by Dr. Charles Freeman and will examine whether the policies and procedures were followed in the disposal of the dead babies.
"In so far as it gets to the point where we think an independent is required, we will do same. But this is the early stages of the process and as such we are of the view that there is no conflict," Mr. Armstrong declared.
SERHA on Saturday ordered an immediate investigation into the circumstances under which the bodies of the two babies which were being stored in the KPH morgue were improperly disposed of on Friday.
The management of Kingston Public Hospital was initially instructed to review the procedures with respect to the storage and disposal of bodies in order to ensure appropriate measures are in place to prevent any further reccurrence.