One year after the death of her son at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC),
Nathalie Caseley still has many concerns; primary among them is the delivery of health care offered at the institution. For this reason, she is on a relentless mission to fight for justice for her son, Jaden Mars, who was four years old at the time of his demise.
In order to commemorate her son’s one-year death anniversary, Caseley on Wednesday evening spearheaded a vigil on the pavement outside of the hospital’s Accident and Emergency entrance at New Market Street, Georgetown. She was accompanied by several hymn-singing supporters, some of whom have had similar experiences of loss at the hospital.
Speaking to media operatives, Caseley said that she is hopeful that efforts to keep the issue of her son’s death alive will serve to not only improve the institution, but the quality of medical practitioners who deliver service there. The woman, who has been struggling not to lose herself in grief, recalled that the day that her son was pronounced dead, she even then made a promise to him that she will ensure that justice was served.
“These people have me fighting for justice even after a year of them knowing that they caused the death of my son!” said Caseley emphatically, as she spoke of her desire to help bring about change in the institution.
“I don’t mind if my son was a sacrifice; if my son would have died for the betterment of the institution
I can live with that. If I can say that because Jaden died this is now a better institution I can live with that, but I am still reading Jaden’s story, I am hearing about other Jadens, I am still hearing from people who are still losing people (family members) every day.”
Just recently the woman was informed by correspondence from the Guyana Medical Council that another investigation will be conducted into the death of her son. It is however her conviction that “they seem to be stalling.” She is convinced that rather than taking definitive action, efforts are being made to ‘wear her down’.
She disclosed that the Medical Council in its correspondence to her, stated that the renewed investigation into her son’s death will see all parties involved being interviewed. This is in spite of the fact that several investigations, at the level of the Hospital and the Ministry of Health, had found glaring evidence of negligence in the treatment Mars received at the public health institution.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud, had told this publication that he was satisfied that the investigations that were conducted offered sufficient information for action to be taken at the levels of the Nursing and Medical Councils.
This publication was informed that one nurse who attended to the child was sent on administrative leave, while at least three doctors involved in the case have remained on the job.
Caseley, in her quest to claim justice for her dead son, had a few months ago retained Attorney at Law, Nigel Hughes, on a Pro Bono basis to legally fight her cause.
According to Caseley, “we have served them through the court with our statement of claims and are awaiting a response from their attorney.”
Hughes had told this publication that “the deceased estate will be claiming exemplary damages for negligence to the tune of $40 million.”
The legal action was taken in light of the fact that the hospital has not been taking steps to compensate her in any way for her loss.
Jaden Mars was admitted to the GPHC on December 4 last year to have his tongue sutured for a minor injury which he sustained when he fell at home and hit his mouth on a five-gallon bucket.
The child was initially taken to the East Ruimveldt Health Centre for medical attention but was transferred to the GPHC where as part of attempts to treat him, he was administered at least 50 milligrams of Ketamine, intended to sedate him so that his tongue could be sutured. However, since the anaesthetic medicine was not effective in putting the child to sleep he was referred to the theatre to allow for controlled sedation.
The process should have taken about 15 minutes but it was not until one hour later that medical personnel emerged from the theatre to inform Caseley that her son’s “heart had crashed.”
He remained in an unconscious state until December 10, 2013, when he died, in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
A post mortem examination revealed that the child died from Pulmonary Embolism, commonly referred to as PE. PE is a blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream.
Speaking at the vigil on Wednesday evening was another grieving woman, Juliet Harrison, who spoke of the questionable deaths of two of her relatives, also at the GPHC. According to Harrison, who is a shopkeeper, she was very surprised to hear of the death of Mars, as the child would frequent her shop with an uncle when he was alive.
“I can’t see how he died like that; I was very shocked. I think that hospital (GPHC) needs to do something better for patients,” said the woman. She also spoke of the need for the hospital to rethink having young doctors on the wards.
The vigil, which was conducted under the watchful eyes of police ranks, saw the attendance of Hughes, who holds the position of Chairman of the Alliance for Change; A Partnership for National Unity’s, Dr George Norton and Attorney at law, James Bond; Social Activist, Mark Benschop and Human Rights Activist and Social Commentator Vidyaratha Kissoon, among others.
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