Dr Tufton: “Do Not Abandon Your Relatives this Christmas”

Dr Tufton: “Do Not Abandon Your Relatives this Christmas” – Families who engage in the habitual practice of abandoning their impaired and sickly relatives at hospitals during the Christmas season are being asked to cease and desist.

The warning comes from the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, who, in a recent interview with journalists, stated that this is a longstanding “unfortunate practice” among many Jamaicans who ditch their old and ill family members in the State’s hospitals over the festive holidays.

“During this time of year there is an unfortunate practice where family members who have older citizens; persons who are incapacitated based on chronic illnesses, maybe stroke victims; and persons who are immobile, and they drop their family members off at hospitals,” Dr. Tufton explained.

“This essentially is for them to get treatment but more importantly, to leave them for the hospitals to become a kind of guardian of those persons (relatives) during the holiday season while they get the freedom to do what they would like to do,” he added.

The Minister said the practice places a strain on the public health system that also must contend with the increases in accident and emergency cases due to the festivities of the season.

“How we mitigate against that? We normally release as many persons as possible who don’t need to be in a hospital,” Dr. Tufton noted.

“We try to manage also through public education by discouraging persons from dropping their family members off so that we will end up taking care of them,” he added.

In the meantime, Dr. Tufton indicated that discussion and advice is being sought from the Attorney General’s Department to determine possible civil suit for those families who engage in the practice to court.

“We have since engaged in some conversations with the Attorney General’s department and have gotten some advice which we will have to rethink and reconsider in terms of what the approach is but from that advice and consultation, will determine our course of action,” he outlined.


Alan Lewin

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