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Eye clinic comment

Eye clinic comment

In response to "Canadian NGO pulls out", PPP, 7 June 2002, as one of the

principals involved in the above issue, and in view of the comments made by Dr Jim

Gollogly, I feel it necessary to clarify some points.

The circumstances of my departure from Rosecharities Kien Khleang were as follows:

In October 2001 I was asked by Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training

and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSALVY) to investigate the possibility of establishing

a local NGO to take over the Eye Clinic operated by Rosecharities at Kien Khleang

as ministry officials were concerned that it was being downsized, contrary to the

memorandum of understanding in existence at the time.

When Dr Gollogly became aware that I was researching the possibility of a local NGO

with MoSALVY, he accused me of collaborating with the ministry and told me to leave.

The allegation that I was running a private clinic (as stated by Dr Gollogly in his

interview with the PPP) only surfaced after the board of Rosecharities BC reinstated

me in my old position, and relieved Dr Gollogly of any responsibility for the Eye

Clinic.

I have commenced appropriate action through the legal system to seek redress. I have

previously instigated legal action concerning my illegal dismissal with the full

support of the board of directors of Rosecharities BC.

Dr Gollogly states that it is common practice not to provide post-operative pain

medication to patients in Cambodian hospitals. This is not so. Certainly, there is

no arguing with the fact that much of our hospital service is not of an acceptable

standard and there may be cases where a patient does not receive adequate or appropriate

medication. There are many reasons for this, mainly lack of funding.

This particular situation is however improving rapidly and under no circumstances

can I or any other Cambodian doctor that I know, accept that the deliberate withholding

of pain relief is 'standard practice'.

Over the past few months, there have been indeed a number of improvements to the

standard of patient care provided by Dr Gollogly. These improvements have only been

achieved at the insistence of MoSALVY and the Ministry of Health.

I welcome the proposed move of orthopedic surgery from Kien Khleang to a hospital

facility under the auspices of the Ministry of Health. This will allow such procedures

to be conducted in an appropriate environment and facilitate proper supervision of

post-operative care and record-keeping.

The fact of the matter is that the majority of the board of directors has accepted

that the ministry has a legitimate cause for complaint, and has fully supported the

ministry and me throughout.

There is no doubt that the clinics in Kien Khleang have achieved a lot in their short

existence, and much of this has been due to the commitment and energy of Dr Gollogly.

The facts of the matter are however, that the current problems have arisen almost

entirely because Dr Gollogly has departed from the original agreement in conducting

surgical procedures which are inappropriate to the facility, has failed to comply

with the terms of agreements between Rosecharities BC and the two ministries concerned,

has failed to consult with his own board of directors on matters of policy, and has

refused to accept the valid decisions of his board.

These issues are fully documented in the correspondence between MoSALVY and the board

of directors, which has acknowledged that Dr Gollogly has acted inappropriately and

outside his authority. In respect of my 'removal', the board has stated that it considers

this to be contrary to the laws of Cambodia.

For my part, I do not wish to make a major issue of this situation. I only want to

re-open the eye clinic at Kien Khleang so that I and the staff here can continue

to provide an ophthalmic service to the poor and needy. I call on Dr Gollogly to

accept the decision of his board of directors and transfer the eye clinic to the

new organization, Rose Cambodia.

I would like to thank the Phnom Penh Post for a factual and objective article. In

my opinion the article was fair and balanced. Thank you also for allowing me to respond

to Dr Gollogly's comments.

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