MOPH staff in distress and disbelief
—following sudden death of 26-year old nurse Schinese Apple
GEORGETOWN, MOPH – The Ministry of Public Health is in distress and disbelief following the discovery of 26-year-old Schinese Apple dead in her room at the nurses’ hostel at Mahdia, Potaro/Siparuni (Region Eight).
“The Ministry is still in shock…her loss is devastating to the Public Health Ministry” Minister Volda Lawrence said on Monday.
When Apple uncharacteristically was a no-show for dinner her colleagues conducted a frantic search for the well-liked female nurse.
Then they made the discovery of her remains in her room.
“Her loss is our loss. It really saddens the public health sector,” Minister Lawrence said.
She said since she learned about the death of the nurse stationed at the Mahdia District Hospital “I was in constant contact with Mr. Dexton Copeland, the deceased nurse’s father.
“I spoke with him personally about the postmortem and other issues,” the Minister said during Monday’s meeting with staff members.
Lawrence told Copeland to travel to Georgetown instead of Mahdia as he originally planned since arrangements were already advanced to transport the body to the capital so the family can witness the postmortem (PM) at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
Lawrence said government pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh was scheduled to conduct the autopsy to determine the cause of her death.
“I had detailed discussion with him (Mr. Copeland),” Minister Lawrence confirmed Monday disclosing that the Mahdia hospital also provided pictures of the deceased nurse to Mr. Copeland.
“The MOPH has been there from the inception. We have been dealing directly with the father,” the Minister said.
She said the MOPH also advanced arrangements with the Ministry of Social Protection (MoSP) for financial support for funeral arrangements.
“The Ministry will continue giving support to the family,” Lawrence confirmed Monday.
When nurse Apple was found dead, Dr Chrissundra Abdool, Regional Health Officer (RHO) of Region Eight contacted the police who launched an investigation into her sudden death last week. Since then, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Regional Health Services (RHS) under Dr Kay Shako have been conducting separate investigations into the death of the young healthcare worker.
“I believe in allowing due process to take place,” Lawrence explained why she has not been on the forefront making pronouncements on the tragedy.
Nevertheless, she has counselled the rest of the country’s healthcare workers not to “give up hope but build on the legacy (of Ms. Apple) and help make her proud.”
She charged sector workers to “continue serving to the best of your ability.”
RHS Director, Dr Kay Shako Monday charged especially nurses not to “fear being deployed to the country’s interior locations,” to serve. Shako promised the MOPH will be “more diligent” when deploying nurses in the outlying Regions.
She said counselling sessions will be made available for all healthcare employees who believe they are affected by nurse Apple’s death.
According to Dr Shako, nurses and other categories of healthcare professionals have been traumatised by the sudden death of the MOPH staff and the event would have “impacted their performance” negatively.