Camille Minott, a physically challenged mother, is accusing the Falmouth Public General Hospital of negligence after her errant 14-year-old daughter Carla Richardson absconded from the Type C facility over a week ago, a day after she was admitted there and placed on suicide watch.

“I am lost. It is the hospital’s negligence because if you have a minor in your care, you are supposed to have supervision for that minor until you release her back to the relevant persons, whether the parents, the police, the CDA [Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA)], or my hand. Nobody was watching her. And now nobody don’t know where she is,” rued the worried mother.

Dr Leighton Perrins, senior medical officer at the hospital, who conceded that the Greater Portmore High student should not have been able to elude personnel on the ward, told the Jamaica Observer West that the matter was discussed during a meeting at the facility on Monday.

“It shouldn’t have happened but we are not perfect, but what we are doing is making sure something like that does not happen again,” Dr Perrins stressed.

“We discussed it yesterday (Monday) morning at our meeting, we are still awaiting the report from the security officer and people who were out there,” said Dr Perrins on Tuesday.

When contacted the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), formerly Child Development Agency, shared that the 14-year-old is listed as missing since April 9, citing that the matter was reported to the Clark’s Town Police Station.

For his part, Superintendent Carlos Russell, the commander of the Trelawny Police Division, who disclosed that the police are in search of the young student, was quick to warn that anyone found harbouring a minor is liable to be prosecuted.

The disturbed Minnot, who divulged that she lives in Portmore, St Catherine but since she returned to her native Duanvale community in Trelawny for a funeral in December, she and her daughter have not returned to the ‘Sunshine City’.

She conceded that her daughter is a habitual absconder who would flee their St Catherine home for a week, the most.

“We live in Portmore but we are just spending time with our family because face-to-face classes are out so we are in Trelawny spending some time with our family because here is where I am originally from. So when we were in Portmore she ran away sometimes. She is a habitual runaway, but maybe she will go away one night, or two days or so. Is one time she ever goes away and spends more than a week. I always reported it and reported her missing and so on,” the mother, who had to be supported by a walker to move around, explained.

Since in Trelawny, the mother said Carla last ran away from the Duanvale residence on April 9 and was not heard from or seen until Wednesday, April 28, when she was spotted in the town of Falmouth in a taxi by a cousin, who unsuccessfully attempted to coerce the child to return to the care of her mother.

The mother said a struggle ensued between the recalcitrant girl and the relative who eventually managed to get her out of the taxi.

The teenager was later taken to the Falmouth hospital by the cousin with the assistance of the police to get medical attention after complaining of an excruciating headache, believed to be a result of a fall she suffered during the scuffle with the cousin.

The troubled mother related that she was told by a doctor at the hospital that her daughter would be admitted and would be placed on suicide watch as she was threatening to kill herself.

Minott said she returned to the hospital the following day with clothes and food for her daughter and about 1:00pm, she saw Carla attired differently from the previous day.

“I was waiting out there for about 30 minutes when me see she coming out with a bag. So me say how them let her out. She asked me if me ready. Before I answered she stepped off and walked towards another girl who was waiting on her, and I later understood that they left in a waiting car,” said Minott.

“So me a say the hospital slack because if she is on a suicidal watch why she come out? Nobody did a watch. Because if she get to just walk out the hospital …all now me don’t hear from her. I don’t hear from her — I don’t hear anything again. She wasn’t discharged, the nurse told me she wasn’t discharged. And even if she discharge her, it would be my hand or the police hand them supposed to put her in.

“This is total foolishness, you had her on a suicidal watch because she said she was going to kill herself even if she changed the clothes, the security must know they must not let her outside.”


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