Doctors on island announced Wednesday they would only be seeing emergency cases and in house patients as they stood in support of a colleague who was arrested on Tuesday, February 28 for indecent assault.
Parliamentarian and physician Dr Ingrid Buffonge and several colleagues visited the studios of ZJB Radio on Wednesday morning to say they stood with Dr Franklin Perkins, who had been arrested the previous day based on charges brought by a young woman.
Buffonge said they were disappointed in the way the case was managed and that she had known Perkins since she was a child. The physician, who is also a member of the Opposition as an independent said the situation leaves all doctors vulnerable to similar accusations. “I strongly believe he is innocent,” she added.
Resident surgeon, Dr Braimah Kassim said the doctors spent Wednesday morning in court in support of Perkins, who works in both government and private service as do many others. Kassim noted that the court documents said the victim was accusing Perkins of having touched her breast and buttocks, places which are often part of routine examinations.
“This could be any of us,” Kassim added and questioned the definition of an assault.
The doctors said that they must now consider ways to protect themselves from similar allegations, much of which will cost the patients. As most operate private offices, the cost can go up, Kassim and Buffonge said to be able to ensure all patient and doctor visits are supervised.
Pediatrician Dr Asha Gopal and her husband also a physician said they found the allegations against someone they’ve known for 16 years disturbing.
ZJB News reported on Tuesday, February 28 that police officials said the case was in its infancy and was encouraging anyone who felt they had been assaulted by the physician to get in contact with them.
Listen to the statement from the physicians, courtesy of Montserrat Radio Echo.