Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton has promised a full investigation into the mishap that left 11-month-old Ethan Garnett with a broken syringe needle in his buttocks.
According to reports, the infant was taken to Fort Wellington Hospital a few weeks ago after developing a fever. It was while an injection was being administered to the child that the needle broke.
Dr. Norton on Saturday promised that the incident would attract sanctions should they be deemed necessary.
“It is not as if nothing will come of this, we are going to launch an investigation. And if sanctions are necessary, we will apply sanctions,” the Minister said.
“We don’t want this to happen again. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place and we sympathize with the family.”
Commenting on why such issues might occur in the first place, Norton said that on many occasions medical caregivers are faced with the dilemma of not having the appropriate equipment, in which cases they are forced to improvise.
It is this, Norton suggested, that will oftentimes lead to mishaps such as with Ethan Garnett. It is never an easy decision to improvise, according to the Minister, but in most cases there is no other choice.
The infant’s father, Carlos Garnett of Lot 7 Number 23 Village, West Coast Berbice said that his mother-in-law and sister had taken his son to the hospital after he developed a fever on August 08, last.
The father explained that after the child was seen by a doctor at the health institution, a nurse was instructed to administer an injection to him.
According to the aggrieved parent, the child’s grandmother observed that the needle was missing when the syringe was extracted. When she asked the nurse what had happened to the needle, the nurse had informed them it fell to the ground. “So my sister told her to find it,” Garnett recounted.
Reports indicate that after some hesitation, the nurse called out for the doctor who then referred the infant to the New Amsterdam Hospital to have an X-ray done.
“He (the child) was admitted at that hospital for a night after the X-ray revealed that the needle was inside his buttocks, and then he was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation,” the father said.
It is understood that another X-ray was done at the GPHC, after which the father was advised to take the child home and return two days later.
“I did not go back to that hospital; I went to a private hospital instead, because it was a lot of waiting,” according to Garnett
Kaieteur News was told that at the private hospital, Garnett was informed that if the needle is removed, it can result in further injury.
And this is a view that the Minister of Health has maintained, noting at a subsequent press conference that it was a medical decision not to remove the needle.
“In spite of all the different hospitals and medical doctors that they (the infant’s parents) have seen, all of them (doctors) coincided with the management of this case and the management is to leave it (needle) where it is – it was a medical decision,” the Minister had said.
The Minister had also announced that following the mishap, nurses would be placed under more supervision to prevent similar occurrences.
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