GPHC fire: DPP’s advice will be sought on charges for doctor; sexual harassment probe ongoing

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A doctor is the main suspect in the New Year’s Day fire that ripped through the echocardiography laboratory at Guyana’s main hospital but police will seek the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s advice on whether there is enough evidence to charge him.

Investigators suspected the doctor to be the one who set fire to the echocardiography laboratory at the hospital from CCTV footage. Had the fire spread, it would have proven deadly as the laboratory is located within close distance to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and other critical units.

The doctor was arrested earlier in January but was released on bail as investigations continued.

“There was a lot of investigation surrounding the individual (the doctor) where CCTV footage is but to say whether there is enough evidence to say whether he is guilty or culpable, I don’t know,” the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (ag.) Robbie Rambarran told the News Room on Saturday.

He, however, noted that the investigations into the matter continue and the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is expected to send the suspect’s file to the DPP for advice. In the meantime, the doctor remains on administrative leave.

What is left after an early-morning fire ripped through the echocardiography laboratory at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) (Photo: DPI/ January 1, 2021)

The News Room reported previously that this doctor works in the cardiology department of the Georgetown Public Hospital and was sent on leave on December 31, 2021, over a complaint made by a female member of the department.

The woman complained that the doctor, who is her superior, was sexually harassing her via telephone calls and messages.

Rambarran noted that the hospital held a hearing over the sexual harassment complaint on Friday; the doctor and his lawyers attended.

Even so, however, the CEO pointed out that the hospital’s management is awaiting an assessment from the Human Resources personnel to determine whether the harassment claims are substantiated.

“Obviously, sexual harassement is a serious problem,” Rambarran emphasised, noting that the matter is being dealt with seriously.

He also underscored that the hospital will be examining its policies as part of efforts to facilitate easier reporting of such incidents. This, he said, is part of ensuring that the hospital remains a safe place for persons to work.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story initially stated that the file was sent to the DPP but it was later confirmed that the file is yet to be sent to the DPP’s Chambers and is, in fact, still on the Commander’s desk.

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