Pros to decide on plastic surgeon's future in BVI
Minister for Health and Welfare the Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton has said
that the Medical and Dental Council will ultimately determine the
suitability of Dr. Frederick Coville for continued practice in the territory.
Rumors began surfacing here last year about Dr. Coville, a plastic surgeon
working at the Bougainvillea Clinic on Tortola, who was debarred from
practicing in New Jersey because of malpractice incidents. However, Dr.
Coville insisted that he did not do anything wrong and that these
allegations were over 12 years old. He asked the BVI public to judge him
on the strength of his work here over the past five years.
Leader of the opposition Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal raised the issue again in
last week's Legislative Council sitting, asking the Health Minister whether
he was aware that complaints had been made of misconduct and unethical
practice against Dr. Coville who has been registered to practice here and
whether he had them investigated.
The Health Minister, in his response, said Dr. Coville was originally
registered to practice medicine on 1st October 1997 and since then, no
complaints were filed regarding his practice in the territory.
He said such complaints would normally be directed to and acted on by the
Medical and Dental Council of the British Virgin Islands.
"However, Madam Speaker, the Ministry and I are aware of the report of a
Consent Order against Dr. Coville in the state of New Jersey in 1996 and
2000, which limit his medical practice in the state of New Jersey,"
Minister Skelton said.
He said Honourable Members and others sent him copies of these Consent
Orders and the Medical and Dental Council is in possession of this information.
"I anticipate that the Council will ultimately determine his suitability
for continued practice in the territory," he concluded.
In a supplementary, the Leader of the Opposition expressed concern that the
Medical and Dental Council would not be able to make an impartial judgment
in this case, because Dr. Coville works with the Chairman of the Council.
Meantime, Minister Skelton also responded to a question from the Leader of
the Opposition regarding an earlier statement the Health Minister made
regarding the issue of Dr. Padilla, a doctor from Santo Domingo who was
practicing on Virgin Gorda without the appropriate registration.
In that statement, Minister Skelton said government was trying to send a
mission to Santo Domingo which will involve the local medical council and
the Caribbean medical Council, to investigate and advise which medical
school in Santo Domingo the BVI can accept doctors from without "all of
The Minister for Health said subsequent to that statement, government is
seeking technical assistance from the Faculty of the Medical Sciences at
the University of the West Indies, since the Ministry does not have the
in-house capacity to carry out assessments of medical schools.
He said the Dean himself, Dr. Owen Morgan, indicated such an undertaking
would require, among other things, an evaluation of the medical programmes,
modes of delivery and the environment in which the medical schools exist,
all of which will require significant cooperation from the schools involved.
"Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is continuing to pursue
the matter," Hon. Skelton concluded.
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