Berbice health authority probing death of 11-year-old girl

The Berbice Regional Health Authority (BRHA) is conducting a probe into the death of 11-year-old Varshanie Devi Persaud who was apparently misdiagnosed and treated for “suspected sickle cell.”

The child, called ‘Sasha’ of Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice was referred to the institution from the Fort Wellington Hospital to undergo a test for the disease. She ended up being admitted for the night.

Michael Itwaru, Public Relations Officer of the BRHA, told this newspaper following the publication of an article on Tuesday in Stabroek News, that the investigating committee which includes medical professionals has been doing a “diligent assessment of the case.”

They are currently awaiting the results from the post-mortem examination and a report from Trinidad where parts of her organs were sent for testing.

Varshanie Devi Persaud
Varshanie Devi Persaud

Itwaru said the BRHA regrets that the child lost her life at such a young age and that they are aware that the pain the family is feeling is great.

Her parents, Mahendra and Devi are claiming that although doctors at the New Amsterdam Hospital did not come up with a diagnosis, they went ahead and administered treatment.

The doctors also admitted her and the following morning her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH).

She succumbed two days later while on a life-support machine in the Intensive Care Unit. The family was advised not to cremate her remains.

Sasha was first taken to the Fort Wellington Hospital (FWH) three days before her death and an ultrasound and other tests were ordered.

The tests, except for one for sickle cell, were done at the Mahaicony Hospital. The results were all negative. They returned to the FWH where the girl was given saline. Her mother was advised to take her to the NAH to test for sickle cell and they left via public transportation. All this time, the father  said, his daughter was still “walking and talking” normally. When she got to the NAH she spoke to doctors at the emergency unit where the blood sample was taken.

The following morning Devi noticed that the girl’s right eye had started to get red and the doctors told her that they “suspected sickle cell. They keep giving her injections.”

Later, as her condition deteriorated, they told him they “suspected something else and they have to move her to Georgetown or it would get serious. By then they had her on a stretcher.”

At the GPH, she kept crying out for pain and was also having shortness of breath. Later, she had also stopped talking. She was also bleeding through her eyes and nose.

According to Persaud he kept asking the doctors about the diagnosis and they told him  they were not her doctor.

Eventually a doctor told him that Sasha “was in a critical condition.” He also said that they suspected that her liver and kidney were infected and that they were conducting more tests.


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