While addressing the controversial issue in the National Assembly of the St. Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday 21st November, 2012, Health Minister, Ms. Marcella Liburd denied the claims which first surfaced in local media reports.
Liburd said that following recent media reports of BHS students being hospitalized because of health issues related to the lab situation, as Minister of Health, she asked the Chief Medical Officer, CMO, Dr. Patrick Martin, to investigate the matter and provide information to be passed on to the public.
“On Tuesday 20th November, the Chief Medical Officer reported that a search of hospital records dating back to February 2012 found no cases of hospitalization associated with the BHS lab matter and no unusual number or increase in the number of persons associated with the Basseterre High School presenting at Accident and Emergency with any issue related to the labs” explained Ms. Liburd.
She said the CMO further reported that the search is continuing, using cross-referencing methodologies, in an attempt to identify cases that may have been missed during the first search.
“I give the public our assurance, that if there were or are cases of students, teachers or any other person presenting to the Emergency Room or warded as a result of chemical exposure, the country will be informed,” said a confident minister.
She said her Ministry always informs the country whenever there is a serious matter of public health concern. She admitted that chemical exposure of a group of persons is a very serious health matter. Doctors and nurses treating persons for chemical exposure are required by law to notify the Chief Medical Officer, she added.
For emphasis, Liburd again stated for the benefit of the public and colleague MPs, “The Chief Medical Officer has received no notification of persons affected by chemical exposure in 2012. The last documented chemical exposure associated with a school lab occurred in the early 1990s when there was an incident at the Cayon High School. Affected students were appropriately treated.