Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, is warning the Opposition People’s National Party, PNP, against linking two recent deaths at the Cornwall Regional Hospital to poor air quality issues plaguing the facility.

Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr. Dayton Campbell, told the media this afternoon, that the deaths had concerned doctors at the hospital, several of whom called in sick today. But the Health Minister says both deaths are linked to prior illnesses.

Dr. Campbell called a media conference this afternoon to address what he says were worsening air quality issues at the St. James-based Cornwall Regional Hospital.

He says it’s unreasonable for staff to be asked to continue to work at the facility when they’ve not been informed about the impacts of the ailing facility on their health.

In fact, Dr. Campbell says those concerns were heightened with the recent deaths of two staff members at the facility.

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Health Minister Tufton, also attended the media conference at Gordon House to listen to the concerns of his Opposition counterpart. He then called a media conference of his own, to address those concerns.

Dr. Tufton says one of the staff members who died recently, had suffered a heart attack.

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He says the other staff, member– a medical doctor from Cuba– was suffering from a lifestyle illness and went back home to seek treatment, when he died.

The Health Minister is chiding Dr. Campbell for linking the deaths to the conditions at Cornwall Regional.

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The Health Minister is alleging that a patient died after refusing to seek treatment at Cornwall Regional fearing the impacts of poor air quality.

Dr. Tufton says he’s also surprised that 18 interns and medical residents would withdraw their services today.

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The management team of Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James has fast-tracked plans to relocate patients and staff from the ailing building following junior doctors reporting sick.

The disclosure was made today by Clinical Coordinator for Cornwall Regional Hospital, Dr. Delroy Fray.

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Dr. Fray was addressing members of the media following a staff meeting called to devise how best to deploy doctors to reduce the impact that the sick out may have on delivering health care to patients.

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Dr. Fray says doctors have complained of flu-like symptoms, and that it is hard to ascertain what the cause is.

Repair work commenced on the hospital over a year ago to address what staff had described as noxious fumes emanating from a section of the building.

However, the situation reportedly got worse, especially on the fourth floor.

Dr. Fray is also advising patients to seek medical attention at other medical facilities in western Jamaica except in cases of serious emergencies.

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And Dr. Fray dismissed claims that a Cuban doctor as stationed at the hospital, fell ill and died as a result of asbestos found on his lungs.

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Dr. Fray says Cornwall Regional is hoping that the Cubans will release the post-mortem results. The doctor reportedly died last week. He was speaking Tuesday afternoon on the hospital premises in St. James.

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