Child received continuous treatment at Public Hospital from time of admission

Dear Editor,

The Management of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation wishes to issue the following statement in response to the article published in the August 4 edition of the Kaieteur News captioned, ‘Distraught mother cites negligence in toddler’s death.’

It must first be stated that the official post mortem report has not been completed, therefore a conclusive cause of death cannot yet be stated. However, from the preliminary investigation, the statements issued by Ms Gordon, a student nurse currently completing the Nursing Assistant’s Programme, have been found to be erroneous. The facts have been distorted and there are a few contradictory statements in the article.

First, Ms Gordon claimed that “the child spent over 24 hours at the hospital from last Saturday without medical attention,” then later it was said that, “she was examined and an X-Ray and blood tests were ordered.” Additionally, “Dr Khan never came until around 3am Saturday morning.” Hospital records show that the child received continuous treatment from the time she presented to the Accident and Emergency Unit on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 21:43h. The patient was admitted to the paediatric ward at 04:40h, Saturday, July 30, 2011 and appropriate treatment, including transfusion was administered the said day and continued as required.

Second, Ms Gordon stated that the deceased was sent to the ward without being admitted. As a student nurse who has functioned in the system, such a statement is inconceivable, for no patient is sent to the ward without having been admitted. As a result of the hectic morning that faced the A&E staff due to the plane crash, after the child’s initial treatment, Ms Gordon, being a nurse in training was asked to take her to the ward where she was received and admitted. Ms Gordon however inadvisedly took the chart to the ward without the knowledge of the A&E nurses and this led to the later confusion.

Third, Ms Gordon stated that, “Nobody came that Saturday after then, until Sunday doctors came and looked at her.” This statement is also not factual. It is important to note that doctors conduct ‘rounds’ daily and if a crisis occurs, the doctors on-call are summoned immediately. There was no evidence of distress being suffered by the patient until the eve of Sunday, July 31, 2011, therefore there was no need for a doctor to be called. However, doctors conducted rounds at 11:00h on Saturday, July 30, 2011 and the patient was seen.

With regard to the mother’s statement, “Doctors came after and they were confused, asking each other what to do and so on,” it must be clarified that the General Medical Officer was summoned to the ward and the child’s diagnosis, recent history and current problem were discussed and she was advised accordingly. This is not an indication of a doctors’ ignorance as was insinuated; it is the normal procedure when a senior doctor is reviewing a case.

Please be advised that the foregoing statements can all be substantiated by the late patient’s chart as is the usual case and this hospital is always willing to share this information with the relevant authority should the need arise.

Management is surprised and concerned that Ms Gordon, as someone who is attached to the system and therefore has some degree of knowledge of the hospital’s protocols, would bypass the administration and make such bold statements in the press when in fact she was present at the time of the child’s demise and she witnessed the efforts of the staff in an attempt to preserve the child’s life.

Management nonetheless expresses condolences to Ms Gordon and other relatives for their loss.

Yours faithfully,
A Proctor
Public Relations Office
Georgetown Public Hospital

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