Ishmael case on hold
THE?HIGH?COURT?has reserved its decision in the case brought by consultant cardiologist Dr Richard Ishmael against the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH)?for suspending him on December 10, 2010.
Ishmael who is represented by Leslie Haynes in association with Laura Duncan, is seeking $600 000 in damages; a declaration that the suspension is invalid, null and void; an injunction to restrain the QEH from continuing and/or enforcing the suspension and an injunction restraining the hospital from commencing and carrying out an enquiry which was alluded to in his suspension letter.
The matter has arisen out of a letter which the doctor wrote to the director of medical services on November 17, 2010, outlining an event that occurred at the hospital involving heart specialist Dr Alfred Sparman, who does not work at the hospital, and a patient, who was a visitor to the island, under Ishmael’s care.
The letter was copied to the chief executive officer as well as other people including Minister of Health Donville Inniss, the chairman of the Medical Council of Barbados and the president of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners.
In a letter dated December 10, 2010, the hospital’s CEO informed Ishmael of two acts which were deemed as an offence under the terms and conditions of service for employees of the QEH namely the referencing of the Minister of Health, the director of medical services and Dr Sparman in his letter and the use of the hospital’s letterhead to convey information to persons “outside the governance framework of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital”, without lawful permission or authority.
He was also suspended, with immediate effect, with full pay, pending an investigation, and informed that disciplinary charges may be brought against him.
Yesterday both Haynes and Hal Gollop, who is representing the hospital, made submissions before Justice Jacqueline Cornelius, in the No. 10 Supreme Court.
Gollop argued that the QEH’s terms and conditions of employment gave it the right to suspend any employee. He said that Ishmael suffered no loss, since he was supended with full pay.
Haynes, on the other hand, accused the CEO?of acting in bad faith by suspending Ishmael, pointing out that his client’s letter was openly critical of the Minister of Health, the director of medical services and Sparman.
In response to Gollop’s claim that the suspension was null and void because it had been lifted, Haynes told the court that it was still very much a “live issue” because it was lifted “without prejudice”.