Public alerted to doctor charging $6K to see suspected COVID-19 patients


Ministry of Health officials today addressed allegations that at least one private clinic in Antigua is offering COVID-19 testing to members of the public for $1,000 per test.

It is further alleged that the doctor in question is charging an additional $5,000 to see patients if they are suspected of having the virus.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas said there is only one authorized testing centre in Antigua.

“DNA PCR, which is the recommended testing for COVID-19, at this point in time, is only available at the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad, through the public health laboratory at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre,” Sealey-Thomas said at a news conference today.

“I just want to caution the general public, again the recommended test right now for COVID-19 is DNA PCR.”

She said the Ministry of Health, along with Mount St. John, are working assiduously to have DNA PCR test at the MSJMC free of cost.

“We are going through very severe economic times right now and I want to warn the public that there is no test right now available in the private sector that can tell you that you definitely have COVID-19,” Sealey Thomas.

The CMO said if the allegations are true, the doctor would more than likely be using an antibody test.

“It may tell you that you’ve had a coronavirus infection in the past. It doesn’t tell you that you have immunity against COVID-19 and it doesn’t tell you necessarily that you have COVID-19 at this point in time,” Sealey-Thomas said.

“So people need to be very careful with their scarce resources at time point in time.”

AG will be asked to investigate

Meanwhile, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph says as a government, they have a responsibility to protect the public, and he will be bringing the matter to the attention of the Attorney General.

“I am going to be asking the Attorney General to look in our laws to see what provision we have in any law in Antigua and Barbuda to protect the public,” Joseph said.

“Because if there is a test that is not considered to be scientifically proven in terms of its effectiveness, I don’t think it’s acceptable that doctors, and this is only an allegation, to provide that test to the public

“This is a very serious development as far as I’m concerned because you could have a situation where an individual is told you are COVID-free and then that individual takes on a different kind of lifestyle. That individual might not practise social distancing.

“Someone getting a false result could go and transfer that disease to many members of the family so this is a very serious development,” Joseph added.

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  1. The government is having a press conference after missing in action for so long. What are they afraid of? ……is it that they would not be able to fool the public any more? Are they afraid that the true covid19 count would no longer be misrepresented by those who are not guided by any moral compass should private labs start doing covid testing?. After all the government has a cash flow problem and can not do widespread testlng. Should they not be happy that it can be done elsewhere? Is it not giving citizens a say in the right to choose there health care provider and the right to pay for a test to accessitain their health status? The matter of who gets tested and who does not can be a matter of life or death. Should the government be the one to make that call and not it’s citizens?
    Mr Minister asking the attorney general to look into this is a misconduct and a scare tactic. The government and its affiliates needs to be truthful with the information which is disseminated to the public to help contain the spread of this deadly disease. We are in this together, government and citizens alike, we are a resilient people and will come out of this bigger and stronger .Mr minister We need the truth to be able to do this!

    • Fiscal measure: Mr.Minister and those two individuaks flanking his sides need to take a serious pay cut. Between the three of them, by reducing their extras we can easily save upwards of $80k monthly.

      N.B.Chamber of commerce can thank me for this suggestion later.

    • The point is that the prices charged by this doctor are a rip-off and money grab. The good doctor is using the virus to overcharge probably by at least 25 times the ordinary doctor visit fee.

    • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “What counts today, the question which is looming on the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity must reply to this question, or be shaken to pieces by it.”
      ― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth!

      In this the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015 -2024, with Covid-19 stalking the land, bringing not only disease, disaster and death, but also economic and financial calamities, destitution, hunger, mayhem and poverty for survivors, one would have thought that words of empathy for fellow citizens and thanks, given GoAB’s limited resources and its unwavering scramble to contain “Rona’s rampant assault on the people of African Descent, would be the order of the day! LEST WE REMEMBER, The Pandemic of 1917 – 20, some 83 years after Emancipation saw Life Expectancy, on the Rock, go from 33.9 years to 22 years! This is not Ripley’s “Believe it or Not!

      “The Afrocentric method considers that no phenomena can be apprehended adequately without locating it first. A phenom must be studied and analyzed in relationship to psychological time and space. It must always be located. This is the only way to investigate the complex interrelationships of science and art, design and execution, creation and maintenance, generation and tradition, and other areas bypassed by theory.” – Dr. Molefi Asante, Afrocentricity; The Theory of Social Change!

      The enormous horror of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unfolding daily before our very eyes, sensibilities, mental and psychological breaking points! The true toll of Coronavirus won’t be known for many months, some epidemiologists say from two to three years, but what is emerging is that the best-case scenario is probably roughly ten times as bad as a severe flu season, with a particularly brutal impact on the elderly and and those with comorbidities! The People of African Descent resident on the Rock are racked with Obesity, Diabetes, Sickle Cell Anemia, Asthma, Heart Diseases, pulmonary vascular disease, Hypertension, Kidney Disease, etc,! The Private Medical Practitioners would be well advised to advise the people of the typical human reality and describe not only the medical but also the mental and psychic modalities, taking into account not only the imperfections, but also the limitations, so that there is a common understanding to the single most devastating event which will be experienced in their lifetime! With a Population of less than 100K, this is not the time for the “supercilious sophisticates”, “pusillanimous pussyfooters”, “nattering nabobs of negativism”, “vicars or vacillation”, & “the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history” who will never understand that a rapaciously profit driven healthcare system and a public driven state system buffeted by limited and declining financial and innovative capacity will make this virus harder to manage!

      The question today is whether we can learn something from “Rona” that might not only help us mitigate the harm of “Covid”, but build a new infrastructure of Public Health Care by a redesign, re-engineer, realign and restructure of our health, human, socio-economic and environmental institutions that will provide better protection to not only the most vulnerable, but all of the People of African Descent! The Most “Borish” Prime Minister of The “Mother Country”, as the colonialists among us would say, with all his wealth was brought low and only then did he see, like Saul on his way to Damascus – that he had nothing before him, he was going direct to Heaven, he was going direct the other way (Charles Dickens, 1859) – the Extraordinary Value of the Public National Health System as against the gluttony of over-priced elite specialists!

      GoAB must endeavour, engender and foster trust by the people, to build solid institutions buttressed with social and psychological immunity in a body politic and a cultural milieu that has been ravaged for decades by neo-liberal capitalist thought, swinging from “Entrepreurial Socialism” to “Empowerment Capitalism” and consumed by home grown “ethical badmindedness” – which Dr Paget Henry & His Colleague Dr. Gordon define as an ethical discourse in which people are seen as acting out of bad motives rather than good ones: “acting out of spite, out of hate, acting with the intention to deceive, to dominate the other or to advance oneself at the expense of another.” or through “Ressentiment” – “an attempt to evade human reality through flights of misanthropy and other forms of bad faith …”- Dr. Charles Ephraim!

      Antigua and Barbuda is a SIDS struggling, valiantly to maintain not only the health and welfare of its citizens and residents, but in a world of Globalization, its status as a middle income state with a laudable Human Development capacity for political, economic, socio-cultural,technological and ecological sustainability! We must learn to live cooperatively while building a Caribbean Civilization, not simply spouting slogans, tweets or comments that are no more than signals used by manipulators trying to use them as catchwords, as codewords, as a foil for their narcissistic displays but should strive for the collective effort of harness the creative, innovative and incubative energies of the people of African Descent to transform our present reality, to improve the concrete situation of the masses of the People of African descent of our country! It wasn’t intended to be, is not and will never be “Little LA!”

      “Myths tie all relationships together, whether personal or conceptual. It is the Afrocentrist’s task to determine to what extent the myths of society are represented as being central to or marginal to society.” – Dr. Molefi Asante!

  2. First of all, private doctors can have COVID -19 testing. Just like in the US, most private doctors initially had them but ran out. The government can’t tell a private doctor who has access to the test, they can’t test people. I think they are more afraid the true covid 19 numbers on the island will come out!

    If you notice, the keep saying the RECOMMENDED agency for testing PCR but they certainly can’t say no doctors are allowed to test! They can only RECOMMEND PCR. But people have a right to go wherever is offering the testing. They may have trained their medical staff to conduct there’s test, but doctors are already trained in all of these areas.

    Some doctors who are part of medical societies overseas are able to get test sent to them. They pay dues for these types of things. So why should the government say the doctors can’t test. Doctors don’t have to ask permission from the government to perform medical services. Especially not testing.

    How much they charge for the test is their business .. they are private. I’m not debating whether they should charge a certain amount, I think 6000 is high but again, if the government wants to address that in some way fine! but they certainly can’t tell that doctor not to test!

    There is a combo medications used to treat the virus, under medical guidance, in America and I know that some private doctors in Antigua have access to the combination of drugs, that does aid the curing of the virus .. If they want offer it as a part of their medical services that’s their right… who will pay for it?.. I don’t know but if people have it and want to pay oh well.

    Also I think the government is afraid that the true numbers of who have the virus in the country will come out because, IT IS MUCH HIGHER THAN 24! IT WAS ALWAYS HIGHER! MUCH HIGHER, but certain people have been seeking private treatment from doctors.

      • Elsa need fu chill jack 😂😂. Y’all should go read y’all Bible and stay off social media. Pray and meditate. Maybe Elsa should take up yoga. Elsa girl mind ya blood pressure.

    • You are correct Elsa.

      “Minding your pressure,” “reading the bible,” and “praying” isn’t going to fix this problem.

      Why do so many Antiguans seem to want to bury their heads in the sand?

  3. Am so tired of these demons who keep spewing their hide-the-numbers-conspiracy theories. Governments have nothing to gain by depressing numbers. Quite the countrary. We need to remind ourselves that it not governments that cause figures to rise or fall. It is WE ourselves that control that. By continuing to listen to the braying of political jackasses with their own axes to grind, many expose themselves to grave danger. Avoid public gatherings as much as you can! Observe social distancing at all times! Practice good hygiene at all times. Listen to real news not fake news put out there by bruce et al. Why don’t they just contract the disease? They will then be able to, or rather they MIGHT then be able to give the vulnerable public a first-hand, honest(?) account of what actually goes on behind the scenes.Gimme a damn break!!

    • Anon thank you. Some of these conspiracy theoriest need a social media break. 🤣🤣

        • Cry fu what? Me tap ah me yard and on the rear occasion me go out me mek sur me hab on me mask. Me nah stress myself like lakka aru. Hope Dr Sealy-Thomas ah one strong woman and nah let the stress and ciritcs get to she lakka the Dr in NY

  4. If it’s true, this so-called “doctor” should be put on a raft to Redonda. Those kinds of charges are totally unacceptable. Get outta here! This looney-tune makes all the doctors look like money grabbers, but that is NOT true. Most are caring and compassionate people. Book this “doctor” on the next raft to Redonda.

  5. I want one of those digitized invisible mask they were wearing in a public space.

    Mandatory face masks for some eh?

    Even for awareness sake, showing proper mask wearing, leading from the front, good example….

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