Dec 29, 2009 News
Residents of Lethem, Rupununi in Region Nine are demanding a thorough investigation that could establish the circumstances surrounding the death of a 14-month-old baby, girl yesterday morning.
The residents are blaming both the regional and hospital administration for what they call glaring negligence in the death of Donnette Pernambuco, 18 hours after she was admitted to the Lethem medical facility.
Kaieteur News understands that the absence of a driver for the Lethem ambulance compounded the situation, after the doctor on duty recommended that the child be rushed to the Boa Vista Medical Centre for advanced medical care.
According to reports, the child from Shea, South Rupununi was taken by her mother, Vanita Johnson, to the Lethem Hospital about 15:15 hours on Sunday, suffering from fits of vomiting.
She was seen by some nurses, who administered oral rehydration before admitting her.
Both mother and child slept at the hospital and according to reports no other treatment was administered until a doctor examined the baby about 06:00 hours yesterday.
This newspaper was told that because of the child’s advance stage of dehydration, the doctor recommended that she be transported by ambulance to Boa Vista in neighbouring Brazil, where the medical facilities are more sophisticated.
Arrangements were made for the trip to Boa Vista but from then things went awry and confusion reigned.
The authorised driver for the ambulance could not be located. It was subsequently learnt that the ambulance driver was on duty with a senior regional official in the city.
As desperation stepped in, further efforts were made to contact a replacement driver, while the baby’s condition continued to deteriorate.
By the time the replacement driver was located it was too late. The baby died around 10:30 hours.
She had spent a total of 18 hours without much treatment.
As news of the baby’s death spread throughout Lethem, residents, mostly Amerindians expressed disgust at the apparent lack of professionalism on the part of the authorities responsible for the administration of health care.
Senior medical personnel have also expressed frustration over the way the ambulance service is being operated in the region. This newspaper was told that the Regional Executive Officer exercises control over the vehicle and has appointed one specific driver to operate it.
But according to reports, that driver is sometimes used by senior regional officials, leaving the ambulance unattended. Sometimes this is the situation when an emergency arises.
This newspaper contacted the Deputy Regional Executive Officer with regards to the incident but was referred to the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer who is reportedly in Georgetown at the moment.
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