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Harding lost “significant length” of intestines – Health Minister

Colwyn Harding

Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran says Colwyn Harding, the man allegedly sexually assaulted by a policeman, has lost a significant portion of his intestines.

The minister made the revelation in parliament on Thursday in response to questions from APNU MP Winston Felix, adding that Harding was being treated for hernia-related complications.

The opposition MP asked about the extent of Harding’s injuries, the cost of treatment, what help the ministry was prepared to offer and the possibility of him receiving overseas attention.

Dr. Ramsaran responded that a length of Harding’s bowel was found to be gangrenous in the right scrotal sack and emergency surgery was done on December 18.  He described it as an “incarcerated hernia.” He added that subsequently there was a breakdown of the rejoined intestines.

“This led to certain serious internal complications including septic conditions within the abdomen. This meant that the patient had to be reopened coming out of the first operation,” he stated.

According to the minister, the man lost a significant length of his intestines but has recovered sufficiently for doctors to try and reattach them.

Dr. Ramsaran also walked a fine line in his response in pointing out that the man was being treated for a serious hernia and subsequent complications. The allegation is that a named policeman rammed a baton into Harding’s anus during a search for another individual at a Timehri home in November.

“Any doubting of this will put under question the professional report of professionals. I’m saying Mr. Speaker the juxtaposition to the opposition [claim] needs to be analysed. The injury to the bowel as Mr. Felix insinuated came not necessarily but our surgical professionals are saying … that this patient was operated on because of pains in the right scrotal area,” Dr. Ramsaran said to chants of “shame” from the opposition benches.

According to the minister, his report was based on his “trust in the professionalism” of the doctors.  

Harding has been defecating with the aid of colostomy bags since his hospitalisation and reports had surfaced that he would have been discharged because the hospital was out of bags. Felix asked about their availability and was told they were in stock and being utilised.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ramsaran noted that the GPHC did not do costing for medical treatment but added that the ministry was prepared to render all assistance needed. On the question of overseas treatment the minister said he believed the necessary skills were available locally to deal with Harding’s case. However, he added that they were open to a second opinion.

Felix also asked Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster if her ministry would be doing more work to educate the police force on human rights to which she responded that the agency did not fall under her purview.