May 15, 2015 News
Although the doctor at the centre of a reported botched abortion in Berbice that resulted in a patient’s
death is currently not allowed to practice in the Public Health sector, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud, yesterday expressed uncertainty about whether the doctor is still practicing privately.
“I really wouldn’t be able to say at this point,” said Dr Persaud of the doctor. “I didn’t see the Medical Council issue anything contrary but I know we have placed him on leave. He cannot work at this period of time in the public sector.”
According to Dr Persaud, the move by the Regional Health Authority to send the doctor off on administrative leave “is the limit of our jurisdiction. The Medical Council has to adjudicate on any other practice licence,” he said. As CMO, Dr Persaud is a member of the Medical Council.
But while Dr Persaud is hoping that the doctor under investigation is not practising at his private clinic. He added that the offence under investigation is not one that was committed in a public institution but rather at the doctor’s private clinic.
“We still took the necessary action,” said Dr Persaud who noted that the doctor has since sent a response to the Ministry of Health regarding the accusation levelled against him through his lawyer.
“This process is taking time but I hope that it will be thorough and we can come up with the best action,” said Dr Persaud.
Twenty-two-year-old Kamili Arjune was the patient who died on Good Friday after being attended to at the Dr Rahaman’s Clinic in Port Mourant, Berbice.
According to Dr Persaud, among the breaches is the fact that the doctor in question was not licensed to perform the abortion. Neither was his private clinic certified to conduct the medical termination of pregnancy.
Another breach, he said, was the fact that the doctor had not reported the woman’s death within the stipulated 24 hours.
Dr Persaud had said that it is required by law that once a pregnancy related death occurs it should be reported to his office. “Any woman who dies during any stage of pregnancy or up to 42 days after delivery, must be reported to the relevant authority (the CMO’s office),” said Dr Persaud as he related, that it is expected that such deaths within Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten must be reported within 24 hours. While those that occur in the hinterland regions must be reported within 72 hours.
According to Dr Persaud he first learnt of the matter after it was reported in this newspaper.
Commenting on the recent death of an 11-month-old boy in Port Kaituma, he said that an investigation is ongoing to a point where it is at the level of a Child Health Committee. However, he was not in a position, yesterday, to confirm if a report concerning the death of the child was sent to his office. “I don’t think we got any documents from Port Kaituma. So I can’t just say somebody say this and go ahead.
“I have to get from them (Port Kaituma Hospital) all the documents then we can do a comprehensive review and that is why these things take a little while and it isn’t always easy to get all of the relevant information,” disclosed Dr Persaud.
He assured that the case is gaining keen attention and it is likely that within the next week or two that it is likely that documentation will be available to fast track the investigation.
He informed too that the parents of the child has not filed a complaint with is office to emphasise their concern about their son’s death. The cause of the child’s death has been recorded as pneumonia.
He said that in recent days “they weren’t able to convene too many meetings because a lot of the (medical personnel) are otherwise engaged.” Dr Persaud has however promised to consult with Head of the Ministry of Health’s Maternal and Child Health Unit, Dr Janice Woolford, on the case.
Robin Albert and Onica Atkinson, parents of the child are not taking their son’s death lightly. They are calling for a thorough investigation. The child was initially diagnosed with a heavy cold. He died while awaiting a medical evacuation to Georgetown.
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