More questions than answers have surfaced following what relatives have deemed the untimely demise of 33-year-old Elton Samuel Todd of 9 Stelling Road, Rosignol, West Coast Berbice.
Among the questions that have arisen is how safe is the service being offered at some health facilities and how credible are the professionals that operate within these facilities.
Relating a disturbing tale which commenced on December 20 and ended two days later with Todd’s death at a private hospital in the city, relatives said that they are hoping that a thorough investigation will be undertaken to ascertain what really led to the young man’s death.
The relatives are of the belief that they were fiddled out of just about $200,000 as they are convinced that they did not receive the service for which they paid.
Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, the relatives said that Todd, a father of two and the sole breadwinner for his family, had complained of feeling unwell for a few days, a situation which intensified on Tuesday December 19 last.
According to the dead man’s relatives Todd had said that he was suffering from unbearable abdominal pain. His condition would worsen the following day causing relatives to rush him to the private hospital in the city.
Todd was admitted through the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Hospital and was seen by a reputable doctor who diagnosed him with appendicitis. The doctor advised that there was need for the young man’s appendix to be removed in order to address his condition.
A decision was taken by the relatives to have the operation done as soon as it was possible. Arrangements, they reported, were immediately made by the doctor to operate on Todd.
But following the operation, Todd continued to suffer from immense pain. Questions about the continuance of the pain went unanswered, according to the relatives, who said that it was not until December 22 that a decision was taken to administer an injection to the pain-stricken young man.
It was anticipated that Todd’s discomfort would have been appeased and he would have recovered from the distressing condition. However, shortly after the injection was administered, the relatives reported, that the man drew his last breath.
From that point the relatives were convinced that something was amiss. They however did not opt to create a fracas but rather sought to have a post mortem on Todd’s body conducted by a Berbice-based Pathologist.
“We had a feeling about it and so we didn’t want to have the post mortem done in Georgetown because we felt that the doctors at the private hospital would have friends at the Georgetown Public Hospital. Then we probably wouldn’t know the truth of the situation.”
Having undertaken the post mortem, the Berbice-based doctor revealed to a relative who witnessed the autopsy that not only was the dead man’s inflamed appendix intact but it had become overwhelmed with gangareen.
Gangrene is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that arises when a considerable mass of body tissue dies. This may occur after an injury or infection, or in people suffering from any chronic health problem affecting blood circulation.
The prime cause of gangrene is reduced blood supply to the affected tissues, which results in cell death. According to the Todd’s death certificate the disease or condition leading directly to his death was (a) acute peritonitis and (b) a gangareened appendix.
But insult was added to injury when relatives learned that the doctor who had operated on Todd at the private hospital had inked a letter to a Georgetown-based Pathologist, who was initially expected to undertake the post mortem. In that letter the doctor stated that he had in fact removed the inflamed appendix.
According to the letter an appendectomy was undertaken on December 20 and the inflamed appendix was removed. However, it was noted that the man continued to complain of right side abdominal pains even after the operation.
It was on December 22, the doctor wrote, that Todd went into shock and his blood pressure was not recordable which prompted intravenous infusion. However, the young man suffered cardiac arrest which was followed by a process of resuscitation which proved unsuccessful, the doctor said.
Relatives are however, adamant that the operating doctor did not carry out the intended procedure as was proven by the post mortem.
However, a leading surgeon in an invited comment last evening noted that not only is the doctor in question a competent general practitioner and would have done what he said in the letter but there would have been nurses present during the operation to corroborate that he had in fact removed an inflamed appendix.
Todd, who was an employee of the Guyana Power and Light at the time of his death, was laid to rest on December 30, last and leaves to mourn his wife, Christine Todd, their two children and other very concerned relatives.
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