Patient dies after turned away from Port Mourant Hospital during blackout

Relatives of a man who died after a road accident on the Corentyne recently, have alleged that he was turned away from the Port Mourant Hospital and sent to New Amsterdam 14 miles away, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Clerk-in-Charge at the Port Mourant Hospital Shaneza Nabi, who spoke on behalf of the Cuban doctor there, told this newspaper on Monday that the procedure for emergency cases presenting at night was for the patient to be allowed into the hospital compound accompanied by a security guard. The nurse on duty would then examine the patient and send the security guard to the doctor with a message. The security guard, if necessary, would accompany the doctor back to the hospital, especially if it was dark.

However, when Stabroek News visited the Port Mourant Hospital on Sunday, after an allegation was made following an accident on Saturday night, Mr Prashad, the security guard who had been on duty that night, admitted that a vehicle had taken an accident patient to the hospital, but he had not allowed it into the compound. He said he had been instructed by the nurse on duty not to allow patients in at night, especially when there was a blackout, since there was no alternative source of light.

He said there was a blackout at the time and he had therefore instructed the persons who took the patient to the Port Mourant Hospital to go to the New Amsterdam Hospital for treatment. The patient was Tyrone Henry called ‘Iguana Man’ of Nurney Village, Corentyne, who was pronounced dead on arrival at the New Amsterdam Hospital.

A nurse, who was there when Stabroek News was speaking with the security guard, substantiated what he said. She said this was the instruction they had received from the doctor on Thursday last, as the doctor was expected to have been in Georgetown for the entire weekend. The nurse also told this newspaper then that her supervisor knew of the system.

Around 17:30 hrs on Sunday, while this newspaper was still at the hospital, a patient showed up from Whim Village with a severe head wound. This patient was told by the nurse that he had to go to New Amsterdam Hospital because she could not see to do any sutures, and did not want to injure herself. There was a blackout in the area at the time and the hospital was in darkness.

This nurse later took up a position at the gate saying that she was afraid to stay in the building by herself without any light.

Nabi said on Monday that the doctor was highly annoyed because the accusations made against her were false. She said that the doctor usually informed the nurses and the administration when she would not be in, so that they would know what to do in emergency cases. She maintained that the doctor was in New Amsterdam on Saturday night, but was not called to deal with that particular case.

Nabi said she was not aware of any other system, especially one where patients were sent away by a security guard without seeing a nurse or doctor. She further explained that if a patient was to be referred to another hospital “a letter of referral” must accompany the patient after the nurse or doctor would have done some sort of examination.

She further said that even if there was a blackout the nurse on duty should follow due procedure, but since no one was there at night to oversee what happened, they depended on the log entries made by the security guards and the nurse.

No entries were made regarding the accident victim, or the head-wound patient on Sunday.

The Port Mourant hospital is currently being reconstructed and as a result, there are no in-patients. Only outpatient work, clinics, sutures, and first aid treatment are being done there. The reconstruction is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year.

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