The relatives of a patient who was killed at the National Psychiatric Hospital located at Fort Canje, Berbice, are furious at health officials in the region after they could not be provided with an official report of the incident some twelve hours after it occurred.
The now dead patient has been identified as Stephan Francis of Kitty, Georgetown, while his attacker who is currently in police custody was identified as Jason James, also a patient at the institution.
According to the aunt of the now dead man, Samantha Young, she received a phone call from a social worker at 12:38 am Monday, informing her that there was an incident at the institution which stemmed from an episode in which some items were about to be stolen from her nephew.
Young said, “when he tried to defend his property, he was attacked by two other inmates resulting in him getting injured and he subsequently died”.
She added that when she called back about half an hour after receiving the message to inquire more about what transpired, she was told by the social worker that “she did not have the details of what took place but promised to gather the information later that day and let us know. She said if I needed more information I can contact the matron, but when I contacted the matron, she said that there was a push and a push back and he fell and he hit his head and he died. I asked if the attacker was arrested and she said that he was locked up at the institution and awaiting the police”.
The aunt explained that in the latter part of the morning, she was contacted by the police in Berbice and was asked if she could make a trip to Berbice, since she lives in Georgetown. She then asked the police why the suspect was not in their custody as yet but were told by the ranks that “they were prevented from making an arrest because they were told by the hospital administration that they have to follow SOP (standard operating procedure)”.
According to Young , when she arrived in Berbice with the mother of the dead patient, they met with the Regional Health Service Director Jevaughn Stephen sometime around 15:30 hrs Monday, but were unable to have a full report of what had happened, and this was more than 12 hours later.
She argued, “An incident occurred more than 12 hours ago and you don’t have the facts nor any report, is saying something is very, very terribly wrong with the system. If you are the man on this ground in charge and 12 hours after you have to be asking persons here who was the person that did this, and who was the person that did that, then something is definitely wrong. He should have had all the reports on his desk, he knew the family was on their way up and we would need to have a proper report, why would you throw back and relax, 12 hours after, and not have a proper report of what happened?”
The woman furiously shouted, “This is slackness, this is slackness. When that fight broke out last night, they were supposed to have systems in place. They have persons in there saying that they did not even render simple first aid. This person involved is known to be a bully at this facility for as long as I know. I have had patients who came to our care who complained that he sexually abuses them and nothing has been done to address the issue. The fact remains, my nephew is dead and the system in here could not protect him from that”.
The mother of the dead patient, Maylene Prince confirmed with this publication that her son had been at the institution for only a week and would have celebrated his birthday on Sunday. She stated that she brought clothing and goods for her son and he was being bullied for the stuff he had.
Meanwhile, when reporters contacted the Director late yesterday afternoon, he only confirmed that the incident had occurred and stated that there was a scuffle between some inmates and Francis “fell and hit his head” resulting in injuries that subsequently led to his death. He could not state how long the individual had been a patient at the institution when asked.
A post mortem examination is expected to be conducted today.
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