Inspectorate finds three cases of sub-optimal care at SMMC

POSTED: 10/17/12 5:19 PM

St. Maarten – The Inspectorate of Public Health has found that of the seven wrongful death cases filed against the St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC), three are clear cases of “sub-optimal” care being administered to patients.

This was revealed by Inspector General Dr. Earl Best yesterday during a press conference to discuss actions that would be taken against the hospital following a court ruling. “We investigated so far seven cases we found that the care was sub-optimal in at least three cases. These occurred within the past year and a half.” The inspectorate did not reveal which cases it referred to.
Dr. Best clarified that sub-optimal did not mean negligence but that the care provided was not adequate and the hospital did not do all within its power to preserve the lives of the three patients.
From April 2010, the inspectorate began investigating the malpractice cases that were brought at its door by patient’s families. “The problem is of course that we are not aware of all of the cases because not all cases were reported,” the interim Inspector General Dr. Haeck said.

The inspectorate still has to conclude its investigations into the other four cases with attorney Jairo Bloem adding that the inspectorate’s responsibility was not to go on a witch hunt against the hospital’s management but to investigate the legitimate concerns of members in the community and safeguard an adequate level of care.

SMMC just happens to be the only health care institution on the island which places it in a very “unique” situation Bloem said. Dr. Best indicated although previous inspections had been conducted at the facility in 2005, 2007 and 2009, his department was still to receive information on the conclusions of these evaluations that were conducted by the Public Health Inspectorate of the Netherlands Antilles based in Curacao.

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