Health Ministry probes recent deaths at GPHC

promises transparency

─ PAHO lends investigative support into GPHC leukemia deaths

DPI, Guyana, Monday, January 28, 2019

The Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence said her ministry has reached out to Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) for technical support in its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the passing of Curwayne Edwards, Roshani Seegobin and Sharezer Mendonca at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

In a statement today, at her Brickdam office, Minister Lawrence noted that the technical support was sought from PAHO to support the process of openness and transparency.

She explained, “…they can provide the GPHC with any technical assistance which they may not have and also inform the Minister as to what comes out of the process. This is ongoing with PAHO. I did hear from the representative who has indicated that the request will be made of the headquarters to have the person.”

The investigative team currently comprises Dr. Fawcett Jeffrey new GPHC Director of Medical and Professional Services, GPHC’s Deputy CEO, Elizabeth Gonsalves and other health professionals from the Pediatrics Department.

At the ministry, Minister Lawrence said that the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shamdeo Persaud has put together a team that will be examining the drugs administered during the tenure of the patients being provided with care at the GPHC. This, she said is to ensure that we have a comprehensive investigation into what transpired.

Chairperson of the GPHC Board of Directors, Kesaundra Alves confirmed that the hospital has since discontinued the use of the drugs administered to the children.

“We too, want the truth at the highest level, if something did go wrong, we will let the public know that because it’s also important that we protect our future patients. We have discontinued the use of those drugs and have enlisted the help of the Ministry and PAHO through the Ministry to assess those drugs that were used,” she said.

GPHC’s CEO, Retired Brigadier George Lewis said that the administration will continue to continue to examine its systems, protocols and Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) to determine exactly why the incident occurred and to prevent any reoccurrence.

On the matter regarding the misunderstanding with the identification of Sharezer Mendonca body, Lewis made it clear that the GPHC has a procedure that allows for a relative to identify the body before a post-mortem is performed. The CEO stated that on Friday, January 25, Mendonca’s body was positively identified by the mother and the aunt as their daughter and niece, Roshani Seegobin after which Government Pathologist Dr. Nehal Singh performed the post-autopsy.

According to Lewis, the GPHC has since received correspondence from the relatives of Mendonca soliciting medical records and information from the Trinidadian pathologist who witnessed the postmortem this morning.

Synieka Thorne.

Image: Gajuan Jordan.

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