Officials at the West Demerara Regional Hospital and the grandmother of eight-year-old Rohit Eshack are giving conflicting accounts about the treatment the child received prior to his demise on July 14.
Kaieteur News was told that an investigation has cleared staff at the hospital of any wrongdoing in their care of the child, who was who was being treated for a suspected urinary infection.
A senior Health official said that the investigation revealed that the boy’s guardian had delayed taking him to a medical institution.
But the boy’s grandmother, Joan Sudarsan, is insisting that the hospital doctors failed to treat the child on the first day that she took him there. She claims that a nurse in the Emergency Unit sent her to the Outpatients Department, where she waited for hours without being examined by a doctor.
According to a health official, the investigation revealed that on Tuesday, July 9, the child complained of stomach pains and his grandmother gave him “a piece of Panadol.”
The guardian took him to the West Demerara Regional Hospital the following day (Wednesday, July 10). However, the Health official said that she mistakenly took him to the Medical Outpatients Department, rather than to the Accident and Emergency Unit.
The official alleged that she remained there until 14.30 hrs. A nurse triaged the child and recorded that his vital signs were strong.
It is alleged that the nurse advised the guardian to take the child to the Accident and Emergency Unit; a claim that the guardian has denied.
The official said that instead, the guardian took the child home, where she gave him “a piece of Panadol.”
She only returned on Friday, July 13, two days later, when the child’s stomach pains intensified and he began vomiting.
The official said that a doctor gave the child a Gravol injection for the vomiting. He also recommended some tests, which indicated that the patient had a urinary tract infection.
According to the Health official, the physician told the guardian that he wanted to ensure that the child could eat without vomiting before discharging him. It was alleged that the guardian had initially indicated that she did not want to wait, and was “hostile” to the doctor.
After the child had appeared to have stopped vomiting, the doctor reportedly indicated that he could be discharged. The physician also prescribed an antibiotic, and told the guardian to return on Monday (July 16) for an ultrasound.
However, the boy’s condition worsened that night and he died as relatives were rushing him back to the hospital.
Kaieteur News understands that Health officials, including the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer and the Regional Health Officer of Region Three, met with the boy’s grandmother and father last Tuesday.
The Health official also said that rather than taking the boy to the West Demerara Regional Hospital, the guardians should have first taken him to the nearest Regional Health Centre.
According to the official, a doctor would have attended to the child, since there is a doctor at every Health Centre in Region Three.
“Had they taken him on Tuesday (July 9) and not on Wednesday (July 10), the child would have been able to get an early diagnosis and would have had an ultrasound on Wednesday,” the official told Kaieteur News.
A postmortem report, seen by Kaieteur News, gave the cause of death as septic shock.
Septic shock is described as “a serious medical condition that occurs when sepsis, which is organ injury or damage in response to infection, leads to dangerously low blood pressure and…can cause multiple organ failure and death.”
Joan Sudarsan, the boy’s grandmother, conceded that she did not take her grandson to the West Demerara Regional Hospital on July 9, which was the day he first complained of abdominal pains. But she stated that he had complained about “belly pains” at around 10.30hrs, so she gave him “a piece of Panadol.”
The following day (Wednesday, July 10), although the child said that his “belly” was only hurting “lil bit”, she took him to the hospital’s Emergency Department.
According to Mrs. Sudarsan, a nurse examined the child and said he should be taken to the Outpatient Department.
However, the grandmother alleged that she waited for several hours and no doctor attended to the child.
“Then the doctor came out and said that she done work, and we go to Emergency (Department) and they say, they done work too,” Mrs. Sudarsan said.
According to her, one doctor told a patient that they would only be treated if the patient was severely ill.
“And after he said that (at around 17.00 hrs), everybody (patients) decide to come home.”
On arriving home, the grandmother said she gave the child “a piece of Panadol” and “he felt okay” until Friday night ( July 13). That night, he complained once again of stomach pains and vomited twice.
On Saturday, July 14, she took him back to the West Demerara Regional Hospital, where a female physician gave him an injection.
He also underwent some tests and the same doctor informed the grandmother that the child had a urinary tract infection.
Mrs. Sudarsan said the physician gave her antibiotics for her grandson’s infection and told her to return on Monday for an ultrasound examination.
Mrs. Sudarsan said that when he returned home, her grandson was “playing normal”, but at around 21.00 hrs, he again complained that his “belly hurt.”
The woman said she gave him the medication that she had collected from the hospital, along with “a piece of Panadol.”
But then, the child began to perspire and complained of feeling hot. She gave him a bath and left him with his grandfather, who placed him near a fan.
“Then he say ‘grandpa, meh nah see” and I take him to the hospital and two doctors pronounced him dead” (after midnight),” the woman said.
Mrs. Sudarsan confirmed that hospital officials met with her and the child’s father, but said she was dissatisfied with their conclusions and wanted further investigation into her grandson’s demise.
Describing the incident as regrettable, a Health official appealed to patients to first attempt to access the services of Health Centres in their area.
The official said that doctors are stationed at all Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Health Centres.
However, Mrs. Sudarsan said she recently moved to Bell West, and is not familiar with the Health Centres in the area.
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