Teen with broken neck…Family wants answers from Fort Wellington Hospital
By Leon Suseran
A West Berbice family wants answers immediately from the health care practitioners and staff of the Fort Wellington Hospital concerning the mysterious and tragic death of 17-year-old Damion Kawall, a former employee of Jumbo Jet, of Plantation Bath, West Berbice.
Reports suggest that the boy had tried to jump the hospital fence and failed in the bid, lethally injuring himself by breaking his neck.
But his parents do not accept that and said that he was beaten and murdered in the facility, and want answers and a full report into the incident.
They questioned, too, the hospital’s “lax” supervision of patients, all of which have come under tight scrutiny at this point.
According to the boy’s mother, Lorna Singh, she took her son to the hospital two Mondays ago at 07:00 hrs “for cold and fever and they admitted him and up to Tuesday night 7pm, I left him there because he was so ill and he couldn’t do anything for himself.”
She made further checks with the boy from home later that evening and confirmed all was well “and that was the last I talked to my son and after then, around 11 in the night, the nurse called me at home and said my son is behaving bad and fifteen minutes after, they called back to say my son has died.”
The nurses, she said, told her that he wanted to “come home and when we went in to the room after his death, all his belongings, cell phones and all, were dismantled and scattered in the room, so I still want to know what was going on and even the cleaner in the hospital said she saw part of it and afterwards, she just left and went to sleep.”
She and her husband immediately left for the hospital, but due to lack of transportation, only her husband was able to reach the facility first.
“There was my son, lying on a trolley outside the hospital with his neck broken and they have him lying with his belly on the trolley and they were supposed to put him to lie on his back,” the mother said.
Upon her arrival, too, she recalled the security guard telling she and her husband “ya’ll just miss the big scene what we had there”.
“They didn’t have any porter to take him to the mortuary until after 4am in the morning and the next day I took him to Sandy’s Funeral Home around 1pm.”
There were “lots of bruises and scars on his skin and his neck break and on his knee there was a cut and that is why I want justice because I take my son there because he had a flu and a cough and I can’t expect my son to be murdered in a hospital and I took him for something else, so I need justice!”
She gave a statement to the police.
The woman is suspicious of how the boy could have run out of the hospital and jumped the fence “when my son couldn’t even walk— jump an eight feet fence and when I asked Dr. Whynn— the Chinese doctor— he said that he saw my son walk through the gate and I asked him why didn’t he stop my son and he said that there was no porter or male nurses at the hospital.”
She then made a report at the Fort Wellington Station and noted that police told her that “they saw him crawling in front of the hospital on his butt”.
Singh bemoaned that up to now a post mortem on the boy’s body was not performed, “so I keep calling and asking the police when they gonna do it and they refusing me all the time; I just don’t know why they refusing me; I want my son to post-mortem very early because I don’t want him in that freezer so long”.
“They said he jumped the fence and my son cannot walk— he was so ill, we had to hoist him and put him on the bed; bathe him and put on his clothes, feed him and there was no marks on his body. Where did the bruises come from? That is what I want to know— I need justice!”
Singh suspects that her son was beaten and murdered in the health care facility. “I have to blame the hospital, because I leave my son in the hospital lying on his bed, go back to the hospital and reached him outside, that is not fair! The people in the hospital, nurses, doctors and security have to give me answers!”
The boy’s father, lashed out angrily at the health care sector and how something like this could have been allowed to happen under the watch of medical staff. Bruce Singh believes that his son “was physically kicked, abused and probably ended up with a broken neck”. He is a “skinny little boy, not that strong— how can this happen in a country like Guyana where medical facilities should be safe for the public— the authorities are not functioning, the police are not functioning, the hospital is not functioning and those above are the ones that are responsible for this!!”
Efforts to contact the CEO of the Berbice Regional Health Authority, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo, proved futile.
A post- mortem performed on the body on Monday at the New Amsterdam Hospital stated that Kawall died of asthma. “Me ain’t satisfied and me ain’t pleased with that [post- mortem] at all; this is totally out of order”, the boy’s mother said. She said that she saw her son’s neck and examined it and saw that it was broken, “leaning for one- side”. She also refuted contents of a newspaper article about the boy scaling the hospital fence and him having asthma.
Singh is planning her son’s burial after which she plans to take further action in this matter.