By Keeran Singh and Zena Henry
The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Guyana’s main hospital, came in for some serious criticisms from a family in mourning. The family members aired their frustration at what they say was the facility’s heartless behaviour following the death of 21-year-old, Shonique Clarke. The family also expressed dissatisfaction that the healthcare professionals left the woman’s lifeless body nude with tubes connected to her mouth on a bed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
According to Clarke’s aunt, Oneika Stewart, the young woman arrived at the facility at around 1:00 am Tuesday after being rushed from the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital, Region Six.
Clarke had complained about a stomach ache for a number of days and was eventually taken to the Skeldon Hospital in Berbice, where she was given an injection and some pills then sent home.
Stewart recalled that the doctor informed them that Clarke needed blood and that the hospital did not have. However, the woman’s survival was dependent on the operation and the doctor went ahead with the surgery.
The family claims at no point did they have any formal discussions with relevant hospital staff or were they given any comprehensive information into the death of the young lady.
An aunt of the dead woman, Onika Stewart, recounted that a few days prior to Clarke’s death, the girl was experiencing severe abdominal pains and could not urinate. She was eventually taken to the Skeldon Hospital in Berbice, where she was given an injection and some pills and sent home.
Later the same day, the aunt stated, they received a call from the Skeldon Hospital and were told to take the young lady to the New Amsterdam Hospital from where she was then transferred to the GPHC.
Stewart was unable to state the purpose of the surgery or the seriousness of the girl’s illness since they claimed that they themselves had not received any information, only that the girl had lost a little blood.
The family members added that they were never informed of the girl’s death. The woman recounted that the family waited for couple hours and became concerned when they received no update about Clarke’s condition. Upon inquiring the family was told by nurses that everything is okay and Clarke will be out shortly.
Stewart emphasized that the family’s curiosity increased after another hour passed and some members went to the ICU to speak with the staff. It was then the family was informed of Clarke’s demise.
The woman noted that when they saw Clarke she was nude and cold. However, the doctor who performed the surgery never approached the family concerning Clarke’s death.
The family says they were denied any conversation with the doctor who performed the surgery after learning of the girl’s death which they say was only revealed to them when the aunt sneaked into the room to find the young lady lying nude with an apparatus in her mouth.
“They just throw she in a corner and not telling we nothing,” the aunt said angrily. The family also said the girl seemed dead for hours since the body was cold when the family rushed into the room.
The post mortem was performed yesterday but the family has not been told the cause of death. They were promised that all information would be provided within a fortnight.
Stewart revealed that the family is unaware of the ailment Clarke was suffering from and the purpose of the surgery. The only detail the family knows is that the girl bled a little after the operation.
The family believes that if the staff of the Skeldon Hospital, Region Six had performed their duties effectively Clarke’s life could have been saved.
However, Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, stated that the doctors did as much as they could since the victim was brought in a very serious condition from Berbice.
The Ministry has asked for details and is awaiting reports. The victim came out of surgery on Tuesday morning around 6 am.
And commenting on the allegation of nudity, Minister Ramsammy stated that the doctors do many things at one time to patients and perhaps while attending to the patient, her family walked in.
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