By Michael Jordan
When eight-year-old Rohit Eshack began complaining of ‘belly pains’ on Tuesday, July 9, last, he was actually suffering from cystitis (a urinary bladder infection) and appendicitis.
These conditions warranted immediate medical attention, including surgery.
But the child was not treated until four days later.
By then, he had developed sepsis, “a life-threatening condition in which…a severe infection had spread via the bloodstream.”
He died some hours later after being rushed to the West Demerara Regional Hospital. Cause of death was given as septic shock.
“They delayed the kid for about two days and once you are septic, you are gone,” a senior medical source told Kaieteur News.
Who ‘they’ might be is at the centre of an ongoing debate between the West Demerara Regional Hospital and the boy’s guardians.
An investigation spearheaded by a health official has reportedly cleared those who treated Rohit Eshack.
The investigation reportedly 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, it is alleged 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 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.
The senior medical source who spoke with Kaieteur News said that the Panadol would have masked the severity of the child’s condition.
“If you give painkillers, they stop the pain and you say the belly stop hurt,” the medical source explained.
He also said that although the child’s pains first started late at night, the guardians should have taken him to the hospital, where he could have been treated by an on-call physician.
The child’s grandmother, Joan Sudarsan, confirmed that she did not take her grandson to the West Demerara Regional Hospital on July 9, which was when he first complained of abdominal pains.
However, she stated that it was late in the night (22:30 hrs) when had complained about “belly pains.”
She therefore gave him “a piece of Panadol” and took him to the hospital the following day (Wednesday, July10), even though her grandson said the pain had lessened.
Disputing the hospital’s contention that she mistakenly took the boy to the Outpatients Department, Mrs. Sudarsan said she first visited the Emergency Department.
According to Mrs. Sudarsan, a nurse examined the child and said he should be taken to the Outpatient Department (the medical source who spoke to Kaieteur News feels that a doctor should have triaged the child instead).
After reportedly being sent to the Outpatients Department, the grandmother allegedly waited for several hours, but 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 even said that patients would only be treated if they were severely ill.
“After he said that (at around 17:00 hrs), everybody (patients) decide to go 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.”
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 Belle West, and is not familiar with the Health Centres in the area.
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