Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre Addresses Claims of Missing Body

Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) wishes to express its deep dissatisfaction with the Real News Antigua and the Antigua Newsroom (who also published the story) following the publication of the article: Family Complains They Cannot Find Body of COVID Victim Who Died Since September 25 And Hospital Director is Saying Nothing.

We find this erroneous and egregious charge leveled against our hospital—which has gained significant attention—disturbing.

“At no time was any member of the hospital’s management team contacted by the author or media outlets to check the veracity of the report being made,” said Dr. Albert Duncan, SLBMC Medical Director. This news article, which baselessly suggested that our hospital had misplaced a body, is reckless and irresponsible journalism and fear mongering by these media outlets—and does nothing but serve to undermine the public’s trust in our hospital. We also have no record of being contacted by any member of the deceased’s family inquiring about their loved-one, after following up with the funeral home of their choice—which would have been the first place to start since the body of the deceased was released in their care.”

There are certain procedures which are followed shortly after a patient dies at our hospital. A part of this involves the next-of kin being notified of the death and being asked to confirm their preferred choice for funeral home. Once this decision is made, either the hospital or a family member will call the selected funeral home and make arrangements for the body to be transported. This is a decision that is made by the family and not the hospital. In this instance, the appropriate family member was duly notified when their loved one died, and the Barnes Funeral Home was selected for burial arrangements. The family was also in contact with the funeral home about said arrangements.

As we’ve said before, we cannot respond to every attention-grabbing headline, news article or social media post. The professionals of the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre are focused on saving lives and keeping people well—and that precious time should not be wasted on addressing stories which are offensive and unfounded.

We realize we are accountable to the public and constantly work hard to live up to that responsibility. However, in the midst of so much other misinformation our communities are struggling to make sense of, the least this journalist and media outlets can do is not add to it.

About Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre

Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre is a teaching hospital with the primary mission of offering high quality, acute health care and preventive medical care to all people who live in, work in, or visit Antigua & Barbuda. In 2009 the hospital opened its doors featuring one of the most comprehensive diagnostic imaging centers in the Eastern Caribbean.

SLBMC is committed to excellence in patient care with many specialties in medicine and surgery. Our services include: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Pediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology, General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Ear, Nose & Throat, Nephrology/Transplant, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Urology, Pain Management, Oncology, Diabetes Management, Rehabilitation, Emergency & Trauma, Clinical Laboratory & Pathology and Pharmacy.