An attorney-at-law in New York with close ties to a Grenadian family has lauded the Ministry of Health for taking the bold step to prevent government medical institutions from referring patients to a controversial clinic in Barbados.
However, the lawyer – Stefan Ali – believes that the ban should also include a directive from government to private doctors on the island not to send patients to the Sparman Clinic in Barbados, headed by Dr. Alfred Sparman because of an alleged criminal past.
Ali has been helping the Natoo family in St. Andrew mount a campaign against the Bajan clinic following an ordeal with one of their sons involving the loss of thousands of dollars.
In 2014, Sherwin Natoo was referred to the Sparman Clinic in Barbados by the St. George’s General Hospital but reportedly died before Dr. Sparman could attend to him.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the Natoo family raised and handed over $90,000 to the clinic for an emergency surgery and the implant of a medical device to be done on their son but never got back the money.
According to attorney Ali, although he is generally pleased with the action of the Ministry of Health to cease referrals to the Barbados clinic enough has not been done to enforce a total ban on Grenadians going to Sparman’s medical facility.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference held at the Public Workers Union (PWU) Building on Port Highway, St. George, last Thursday, Ali felt that not enough vetting and due diligence was being done by the Ministry of Health to keep out people like Dr. Sparman from the system.
He noted that at one point in time, Dr. Sparman held a license to practice in Grenada while information of him being a registered sex offender in the United States was plastered all over the Internet.
“The ministry has known about this issue (the Natoo ordeal) for two-and-a-half years now. I have not seen any public information on the issue and therefore this press conference is even more crucial. It’s important to note that the Ministry’s response only refers to Doctors working in a public capacity; therefore, there is a huge loophole from private practitioners. These loopholes are that private practitioners can still refer to Sparman because the ministry’s response is only referring to public practitioners”, he said.
The attorney addressed the position adopted by the Ministry of Health that it cannot prevent private practitioners from referring patients to someone who is licensed to practice in another country.
“Many public doctors also work in private practice, therefore, a doctor who cannot refer to Sparman while working in the hospital today can turn around and refer to him in a private practice tomorrow”, he remarked.
“The Ministry does not do systematic background checks on overseas doctors that Grenadians are referred to. Therefore, an overseas doctor who may not be able to get a license in Grenada, for example, Sparman, can practice on Grenadians if that doctor is licensed somewhere that has lower standards”, he said.
Ali called on the Ministry of Health headed by Nickolas Steele to extend the ban to private medical practitioners on the island.
He said that no doctor on the island should be allowed to refer patients to Dr. Alfred Sparman and Sparman clinic and to make it mandatory for local health officials to also do background checks on overseas doctors whom they refer patients to.
“Our request is that private doctors commit to not referring to Dr. Alfred Sparman and the Sparman Clinic and the reasons are – first, Dr. Sparman is a convicted criminal and therefore, ineligible to receive a license to practice in Grenada and therefore should not be receiving Grenadian patients.
“Second, at a time when Grenada is taking a strong stand against sexual offenders, it is highly problematic to reward a convicted sex offender by referring patients to him.
“Third, the Ministry of Health has halted referrals to Dr. Sparman by public facilities and Doctors; therefore, private doctors should follow suit.”
There are credible reports that Dr. Sparman has a criminal past including an alleged 1995 abduction conviction that stemmed from a domestic situation.
Sparman was arrested on June 26, 1986 in New York for the offense of criminal impersonation and convicted upon a guilty plea for disorderly conduct and fined.
On June 14, 1991, Sparman was arrested and charged in New York for attempted sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment.
He was convicted after trial of sexual abuse – forcible compulsion and sentenced to five-years probation.
Sparman was also registered as a sex offender in the state of Florida on June 6, 2001.
Following a hearing in the State of Tennessee Department of Health, the Board of Examiners found that Sparman had “engaged in unprofessional dishonourable and unethical conduct”.
The same body also found that Sparman made “false statements and representations and engaged in fraud and deceit in gaining admission to practice”.
There are also reports that at various time the medical doctor used the following names Alfred W. Sparman, Alfred Eversley, Fred Eversley and John Freddman.