Buckled over with pain from damaged knee cartilage and severe arthritis, Anthony Lewis yesterday pleaded with Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to investigate why his knee replacement surgery was not being scheduled at the San Fernando General Hospital.
In an interview, Lewis, 59, of Point Fortin went to the Orthopaedic Department of the hospital yesterday to request an appointment for his surgery.
Having been an outpatient at the clinic, Lewis said he was told last year that a referral had to be done before he can get the surgery done this year.
“It is very difficult for me because the cartilage in my knees is damaged. It is very painful. Last year, they told me to come back this year and make an appointment but when I went this morning, I was told by a doctor that I have to cope with this pain because the hospital does not have any equipment to do the knee replacement surgery,” Lewis said.
Wiping away tears, Lewis said he worked at Trinmar but left in October before Petrotrin was dissolved.
“I was not in a fit state to work. Walking is very difficult for me. I have arthritis as well. This is not right,” Lewis added. He said one of his colleagues at Trinmar also had the same problem but even though he went to the hospital after him, the colleague was able to get his surgery done.
“I am not sure if they are discriminating against me. I was told that I will get the surgery this year. Now when I went for the appointment they said there is no equipment. The Government must get its act together. Why are they suffering people so?” Lewis asked.
He noted that he was in the Orthopaedic clinic for a year and non-operative treatments were being used.
“I was under medication. Eventually, they said that I had to get knee replacement surgery,” he said.
A senior medical source said sometimes the hospital cannot do surgery because there are no knee implants available.
However, acting medical director of the hospital Dr Robin Sinanan denied that knee replacement surgery was at a standstill in the hospital. He said he was not aware of Lewis’ case and could not comment specifically on it. However, Sinanan said Lewis should get a referral letter from the clinic and arrangements can be made for him to have the surgery done.