A 29-year-old mother of two died at the Georgetown Public Hospital last Thursday and her relatives are accusing doctors of taking too long to remove the dead foetus that was inside her.
Dead is Vanessa Roopnarine, a housewife of Timehri Public Road, East Bank Demerara. She was seven months pregnant.
Relatives yesterday accused the hospital of negligence and expressed fear that attempts are being made to hide the truth.
However, a hospital official dispelled this saying that there are certain prerequisites before there can be surgical intervention including stable blood pressure and vital signs.
The official, while expressing familiarity with the case said it will be investigated as it is the hospital’s policy to investigate all maternity deaths. Efforts to contact Health Minister Bheri Ramsaran were futile.
The dead woman’s sister Euydine Shivdayal called ‘Sue’ related to Stabroek News yesterday that last Monday the woman went to clinic and was told to visit the Woodlands Hospital for an ultrasound since no heartbeat was being detected.
Shivdayal related that the following day she and other relatives took the woman to the city hospital and the ultrasound revealed that the baby had died.
She said they then decided to take the woman to the Georgetown Hospital to have the dead baby removed.
She said they arrived at the institution around 4 pm that day but never saw the doctor until about two hours later when blood samples were taken.
The grief-stricken woman stressed that the ultra sound results and all other documentation were handed over to the Georgetown Public Hospital so they would have been well aware that she was carrying a dead child.
After the blood samples were taken the woman was sent to the waiting area to await the results.
She said after more time elapsed, relatives began questioning the delay in treating the woman and were told that nothing could be done until the results of two blood tests were received.
Later, Roopnarine was admitted to the maternity section of the hospital, Shivdayal said. The hospital official that this newspaper had spoken with explained that the woman was not admitted to a maternity ward but rather Ward E, the bottom flat of the maternity building which is used to house cancer patients and women with Roopnarine’s condition among others.
Shivdayal said she and her relatives left the hospital around 10 pm and all seemed well.
The following morning, they were stunned to hear that she had collapsed during the course of the night and was a patient of the Intensive Care Unit.
The woman said when another sister went to check on her, she found Roopnarine hooked up to a life machine. She was still carrying the foetus.
She said the woman was not responsive and when the nurse on duty was questioned they were told that she suffered a stroke and had very high blood pressure.
She said relatives again asked what was going to be done with the dead baby and they were told by the nurse that she was not informed about that and that the doctor will address that issue when he came.
Shivdayal said that in their presence, Roopnarine was given medication from a syringe.
Moments after, she recalled, the woman started vomiting and thereafter appeared to be worse off than she was before. She said she and her other relatives were then told that they had to leave.
A short while later she said Roopnarine‘s husband was told that she needed a CT scan so that the damage to her brain as a result of the stroke could be ascertained.
Later, a group of doctors was seen around the woman and when relatives asked what was happening, they were told that the baby would be removed as the woman’s situation had worsened.
Shivdayal said she and relatives waited for some time to get a glimpse of the woman going up to the operating theatre but she never came.
She said they were informed that nothing could have been done since the woman’s pressure was still very high.
According to Shivdayal, she left the institution around 3 pm but kept in touch with relatives who stayed behind.
They later left. At that point Roopnarine was still in the ICU.
When another sister went for the 6 am visit the next day, she got the shocking news that the young mother had died.
Shivdayal said that when she later arrived she openly voiced her concern at the way her sister was treated. It was then that relatives were informed that the baby – a girl – was removed on Wednesday night after they had left and that Roopnarine died around 2 am.
The woman was adamant that had doctors acted immediately her sister would have been alive. She said that her sister was strong when she entered the hospital.
Meanwhile, Roopnarine’s distraught mother-in-law Indisdai said that the woman took on the news of her baby’s death. She said a post-mortem examination was done last Friday but no cause of death was given.
The woman said relatives were told to return this Friday for the results.
She, like other relatives, are appealing for answers.
Roopnarine who leaves behind her 13 and eight-year-old daughters and husband Danray will be laid to rest today.