GPHC to probe death of tooth extraction patient

The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will launch an internal investigation into how a young man died from oral hemorrhaging and a blood clot to his brain at the institution, days after extracting a tooth at a private dentist.

Lawrence Gopaul, 24, of Lot 17 Railway Line Hague, West Bank Demerara, died on April 16, two weeks after undergoing an extraction of a pre-molar tooth at the Persaud (Anand) Dental establishment at Peter’s Hall, on the East Bank Demerara.

Lawrence Gopaul

“We had a meeting today with the C.E.O of the hospital [Michael Khan] and have started looking into that.  All the names of nursing and medical personnel attached to this case have been listed and we will start by addressing his chart,” said Public Relations Officer of the GPHC Alero Proctor. She added that investigations will commence when the Chief Medical Officer, who is on annual leave, returns to work sometime next week.

Gopaul’s family is insisting that the extraction was linked to his death, since he never stopped bleeding after returning home. Family members also said that the GPHC was negligent in Gopaul’s treatment since although he was admitted to that facility and given four units of blood and multiple bottles of saline, the cause of the bleeding was not addressed. They were also upset that despite requests they are yet to speak with anyone from the GPHC.

Further, his mother, Bagwattie Gopaul, and siblings accused nurses of verbally abusing them.  She said the nurses in the ward were very rude to her and their behaviour intensified after the young man telephoned her on the eve of his death, telling her that he felt he would not live and wanted to see her before it was too late.

She said when she rushed down to the hospital, she was told by security guards that it was late and she could not see the young man.

However, his aunt forced her way through and went into ward where she found Gopaul under a bed in a pool of blood and vomit. He died shortly before noon that day.

His dentist, Dr Ruben Mercado, defended himself when he heard of the circumstances surrounding the young man’s death and said that he believes Gopaul’s life could have been saved if he had seen a specialist while admitted to the GPHC.

Mercado stated that in his twenty years as a dentist, he had never heard of anyone dying from bleeding from an extraction and that his patient must have had an underlying medical condition.

When Gopaul visited the dentist’s practice, he did not indicate that he suffered from any illness and the dentist said that he did not exhibit symptoms of profuse bleeding on his initial or subsequent visit.

Gopaul was cremated last Saturday. His autopsy had listed his cause of death as haemorrhaging and a blood clot to the right side of his brain.

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