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Survivor looking for answers about Lara Cancer Treatment Centre radiation

Trinidad & Tobago radiation scare
Photo credit: the Society of Radiographers of T&T

A member of MEP’s board of directors Susan Dore was  among those who received excess radiation treatment from the Brian Lara Cancer Treatment Centre.

After the release of the report this year, she has written the following letter to the editor of all the major newspapers. To their credit, the Trinidad & Tobago Express interviewed her for a story which appeared a few days ago.

We asked her permission to share this letter our readers (lightly edited only for MEP style rules).

It gives some insight into both the physical and emotional trauma that these patients continue to suffer. We thank and applaud Mrs. Dore for her courage as she campaigns for patients’ rights. We hope this – and letters, stories and activisim like it – will help bring them some justice, and some comfort.


Flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency...
Flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an organization of the United Nations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Editor,

As one of the 223 over-radiated patients of the Brian Lara Cancer Treatment Center three years ago in 2009, as well as being one of the 30 persons examined by the International Atomic Energy Agency in January 2012, I am quite distressed by the lack of concern shown by all parties involved for those of us who have been affected by this incident and are still alive.

The perpetrators covered it up for about two years until it was leaked to the press; they are still denying that anything is wrong with any of us. When the Ministry of Health eventually got into the act, it seemed that some positive steps would be taken to ensure the well-being of our group. The IAEA’s report has been in the hands of the Minister for weeks and, when questioned, he said that he had not yet been able to read it thoroughly. However, it is not his life that is involved here.

The press got hold of some aspects of the report and, to stem the tide, the Minister then spoke with the press, giving them copies of the report, and announcing that three people will have to obtain further treatment overseas. But it is us, the patients who are the subject of the report, who have yet to receive copies.

My phone has been ringing off the hook with concerned persons enquiring whether I am one of the three needing to go abroad. I assume I am not as no one has told me so. All that I know about the matter is what I have been reading in the newspapers.

I am therefore asking – demanding – that the Minister of Health provide me immediately with a full copy of the IAEA’s Report, including the area that deals specifically with my condition as assessed by the IAEA team. All other persons examined should also receive a copy of the report. If the media could get it, why can’t we?

– Susan Dore


Caroline Taylor

Caroline is an editor and staff writer at MEP. She is also on MEP’s board of directors, and moonlights as an actor, singer, and director. She’s passionate about telling stories – on the page, on the stage, on screen – and in particular about documenting Caribbean lives and events. She’s currently trying to master unplugging from her iLife… For more: Author posts

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