Officials of the Ministry of Public Health have confirmed that an investigation has been launched
into the circumstances surrounding the death of a premature baby at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.
The baby’s condition and its subsequent death became a viral topic on Facebook and other social media websites over the weekend.
Contacted by this newspaper, the dead child’s mother, Vishawanie Persaud admitted that before the birth of the child, she was attending a high risk clinic.
“That is because I had some kind of infection. Dem bin ah treat it at the high risk clinic, but den dem bin tell meh, that if me get any problems or so, me should go to the out-patient clinic,” Persaud explained.
The 19-year-old told Kaieteur News that she began experiencing severe pains early last Thursday morning, and wasted no time in getting to the West Demerara Regional Hospital.
“Me guh to the out-patient clinic, but when the doctor see meh he seh that me getting the baby right away, so they carry me to deliver the baby,” Persaud related.
The teen, who is also mother to a two-year-old boy, claims that after the delivery, the doctor told her that, “the baby was alive,” but went further to ask, “Yuh wan’t we dump it in the bin one time?”
Appalled at the lack of compassion, Persaud said she was speechless for a few seconds, but then snapped, “Why? Why yuh throw away my baby in the bin? Why?”
Eventually, Persaud said that her ability to construct sentences returned, and she asked that the baby be brought directly to her.
“But when dem bring out my baby, dem wrap she in a piece ah paper thing, and put she in a bed pan…was like she was nothing…like was just a lil old cloth dem ready fuh throw way,” the young mother cried.
Trying desperately to control her sobs, the teen said that she was given adequate drips and medical attention, but was forced to watch her breathing child twitch in the bed pan rested on the small cupboard near her.
“My child was breathing, and moving, and making noise. You telling me that there was no way to save her? You mean that they bin going and throw a breathing child in the garbage bin?” Persaud asked.
She added, “I keep begging them to put the baby in wan incubator, because me know she na bin dead, but dem keep telling me that dem nah have none, suh then me start begging dem to send me ah Georgetown, but dem never did.”
Another relative claimed that the child was administered oxygen, but not by a medical practitioner or nurse, but by one of the hospital’s porters.
“They told us that the incubator wouldn’t make sense, because the child’s organs are underdeveloped, and that she would only live for three hours,” the relative related.
Persaud said however, that the baby lived for several hours, and was even alive hours later when relatives showed up at the hospital for the evening visit. It was relatives who videoed the condition of the squirming child, and uploaded it on Facebook. Hours later, on Friday, the child died.
“Me na seh that my child woulda live forever. I know it was a premature baby, but dem coulda treat my baby better than this. She was alive. She was not dead. Dey coulda try to be lil understanding or something, but wha dey did to me was heartless,” Persaud wept.
Repeated calls to Junior Public Health Minister, Karen Cummings and the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, all went unanswered. However an official from the Ministry confirmed that an investigation has been launched into the incident.
“We want to know what really happened. I can’t determine if the mother is telling the truth or if the doctors there wronged her, but we know that the baby died, and I can tell you that the Ministry is to investigating what really happened,” the official said.
When contacted, a doctor close to the investigations was not prepared to give out any preliminary findings, saying that it would be regarded as reckless, and unprofessional. The medical practitioner could not say when the investigation would be completed either, but promised that it would be thorough.
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