Public Health Ministry reacts to nurse’s death

─ investigations currently being conducted

─ family members, colleagues receiving counselling

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 8, 2019

The Ministry of Public Health has extended condolences to the family and friends of the late Schenise Apple, a Nursing Assistant who was deployed to Mahdia Region 8, to lend support to the hospital.

The ministry, on Monday, July 8, received information concerning the nurse’s death through the Minister of Health, Volda Lawrence and the Director of Regional and Clinical Health Services, Dr. Kay Shako.

Minister Lawrence said the ministry is still in shock but has assured the family that a prompt investigation will be done for them to receive closure.

“We, at the ministry, have launched an investigation and the police are also investigating this matter, so we are just waiting on those results. Many of us want to have an answer as quickly as possible, but I always believe in allowing due process to take its course.”

Since all information have not been gathered pertaining to the nurse’s death, the case is still being treated as a suspected suicide. Any other possibilities will be determined after a post-mortem, which the ministry is awaiting a report since the body has been transported to Georgetown.

The Public Health Minister is also meeting with the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan for updates on the case. The Management Committee of the Linden Hospital Complex where Apple also worked for a period are mobilising efforts to reach out to the family of the deceased and lend support.

The Ministry of Social Protection has also joined with the Public Health Ministry to assist the deceased nurse’s family. Since the time the incident was reported, the minister has been in contact with the parents of the nurse, providing updates on the status of the investigations

“I was told that nurse Schenise was like the livewire since she turned things up in a positive way… I would like everyone to ignore what is being said on social media. You have to be in the health sector to know how the demise of Nurse Schenise has affected us all,” expressed an emotional health minister.

Meanwhile, Regional and Clinical Health Service Director, Dr. Shako noted that the immediate family members of the deceased, as well as her work colleagues, are undergoing counselling.

“We would have recognised that the nurses were very traumatised, both those from the hostel and those at the hospital. So, those nurses were taken out of Region 8 on Thursday and were taken to GPHC and the Mental Health Unit and they were exposed to counselling sessions,” she said.

Upon return to Region 8, Apple’s colleagues will be subjected to continuous counselling as they return to the regular daily duties even as they cope with the loss. “We are sure it [the news of the death of Nurse Apple] would have impacted their work performance,” Dr. Shako noted.

“I know this is a very traumatising situation, it was something no one really expected to happen. In fact, since I was employed here at the Ministry of [Public] Health in 2015, this is the first case I would have known about that would have been deployed to a hinterland area, and that person was found dead in the hostel.”

Twenty-six-year-old, Nursing Assistant, Schenise Apple was found hanging in her room in a nurses’ hostel in Mahdia around 18:15hrs on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. She was last seen on Tuesday morning after completing her shift at the hospital and her absence from dinner raised alarms.

Images: Ameer Sattaur