-after reported staff attack
The patient at the centre of a confrontation between the Georgetown Public Hospital staff and residents of Craig was returned to the institution but has been given until noon today to leave.
“I would like somewhere to go, if anybody can help so that I can move out,” Premnauth Narine, 57, who is currently in the Male Medical Ward of the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH), told Stabroek News yesterday, “The treatment in hey not nice.” He said he has been given until midday today to leave.
The hospital has stated that members of its staff were ambushed and assaulted by villagers of Craig, East Bank Demerara on Thursday, while transporting Narine to his home. Narine, it said, had refused to leave the institution on Thursday, after being discharged on June 28—at which time he was found to have no medical problems and was mobile with his vital signs normal.
Residents of Second Street, Craig had told this newspaper on Friday that hospital employees attempted to leave Narine on the side of the road in the mud. The hospital has denied the charge.
Narine admitted yesterday that he was discharged in June. He said he went to the home in Craig but was refused entry. He added that he was told that he did not belong there so, with the assistance of a neighbour he took a taxi back to the hospital where the stayed until Thursday’s debacle.
Narine has been placed on a bed with another patient on the second to last bed at the back of the ward, near the washroom. The patient he shared the bed with is an old man who wore a blank stare on his face. According to Narine, since he was returned to the hospital, he was not being looked after and he referred to himself as a “lodger.”
He explained that he broke his leg last December when a truck had turned on its side as he was coming out of the interior. He was subsequently admitted to the GPH and was later readmitted after his leg began to swell. Since Thursday’s confrontation, his leg has started “oozing,” he said. “I sit down with a man helpless and I deh hey with this thing hey. Any touch he touch this thing hey I see heaven.”
He said he has nowhere to go. “If I can get somewhere, a room with a toilet so that I can move out this place hey,” Narine said, shaking his head. The woman who previously visited him has since left him. “I can’t vex wid the lady fuh teking another man. Me ain‘t get money. I ain’t get anything,” he said.
Michelle Daniels, who lives next door to the Lot 99 address that was given as Narine’s residence, said the man’s former girlfriend moved a while ago, leaving her mother and daughter at the house. When the ambulance showed up Thursday night, the woman said, the elderly woman and her granddaughter were not at home. She and other residents said when the hospital employees dropped Narine on the roadside, they came out to protest on the man’s behalf. “We did come out and residents did put bicycles and other objects to stop the ambulance from leaving but never at anytime did anyone of us abuse, pelt sand or spat at any of those workers,” Rural Constable (RC) Ragnauth Latchman told Stabroek News. The RC alleged that it was the social worker who attacked one resident after that person took a picture of the hospital staff attempting to leave Narine lying at the street corner. It was residents, Latchman said, who called in the police.
GPH spokesperson Alero Proctor yesterday maintained that the hospital’s staff were attacked, and added that the social worker was so traumatised that she had to be sent on leave. She said the woman was crying and shaking in her office as she recounted what happened. The attendants too had sands in their pockets and the ambulance was scratched. The hospital yesterday invited the media to view the damage that was done to the ambulance and talk with the staff involved in the incident.
Proctor added that a letter along with the statements of the staff will be sent to the Police Commissioner, asking for a thorough and speedy investigation of the matter and have charges brought against all perpetrators. “It is against the law to hold an ambulance under siege and prevent a state worker from executing his/her duties,” the hospital said in an official statement yesterday. It also stated that its staff did not attempt to leave the patient in the mud, calling the accusations by the villagers false. “GPHC has competent and professional staffers who perform their jobs creditably. Moreover, the protocol involved when taking a patient home after he/she would have been discharged, is to hand that patient over to a relative, who then assumes responsibility for that patient,” it said.
In response to the suggestion that it should have transferred Narine to the Palms geriatric home for treatment, the hospital noted that there is protocol involved, the most relevant and important of them being that the patient must be 60 years or older. It said this is a requirement of the Palms’ administration and not that of the hospital. It added that social issues are not primarily a matter for the hospital but rather the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security. However, it pointed out that the GPH’s Social Workers’ Department intervenes in such cases and tries to assist patients who need help. “The hospital is already overcrowded, what will happen to those patients who genuinely require admission?” it questioned, while noting that media houses have recently photographed patients being doubled on one bed. “This exemplifies one of the reasons for this problem,” it emphasised.
Meanwhile, the hospital said that it was the police who instructed the social workers to take the patient to the station so that they (police) could investigate the matter.
With regard to the person who was recording the social worker, the hospital urged that the tape be released to the police and GPHC, saying it would shed clarity on what actually transpired and end the debate.
It added that management would not debate the issue any further and would allow the police to do their jobs.
Meanwhile, Narine said that he could not confirm if there was any pelting of sand or spitting. He said he was lying on the stretcher on the ground at the time and only saw the hospital staff surrounded by the villagers. He did, however, say that there was an exchange of words between the attendants and the public. “John Public was cussing up well after they hear somebody cussing. Them cussing too,” he said.