Jamaica: Asthmatic woman said hospital staff turned her away – Allegedly told she was not an emergency case

Jamaica: Asthmatic woman said hospital staff turned her away – Allegedly told she was not an emergency case

(JAMAICA STAR) – Asthma sufferer Tasha-Gay Greaves is lashing out at the staff of the Kingston Public Hospital, who she said turned her away on the weekend after she went to get a new prescription for her inhaler.

“When I got there, the nurse just asked me if I was breathing short and I told her no, and without a second guess, she told me that she could not deal with me because my case was not an emergency. I had visited on Saturdays before to have a doctor write the prescription for my medicine,” Greaves said. She said that she cannot afford to be without her pump right now.

“I am just praying that I wake up in the mornings because asthma has a tendency to attack in the nights. I can’t just walk into a doctor’s office and tell them that I am asthmatic and they should write me a prescription. They are going to want to see me wheezing first. I have never ever been to a private doctor whenever I am having an attack so my file on that condition is only at the hospital,” she said.

Greaves fears that she could become vulnerable if she contracts the dreaded COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US said that people with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. It said that the disease can affect the respiratory tract, cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.

Greaves said that because of her asthma, she thought she would be considered an emergency, and the prescription would be written.


“It doesn’t make sense that they wait until I have an attack and I go to the hospital, and probably they will not even want to attend to me at that time because they may think I have the coronavirus,” Greaves said. “This is my life that we are talking about. Writing a prescription takes less than a minute. You could be saving my life in just a minute. Right now I am really worried and I’m afraid to sleep at nights. I need someone in authority to intervene.”

THE STAR reached out to the Senior Medical Officer at the Kingston Public Hospital, Dr Natalie Whylie, who stated that she would be contacting Greaves.

She also said that prescriptions are not usually just rewritten for a patient, but an assessment is usually carried out by a doctor even if the person is not having an asthma attack at the time of their visit.


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