Hospital no longer had authority over body

Dear Editor,  

I wish to respond to your newspaper’s publication on January 24 on the topic ‘Hospital refuses to give sample for second autopsy.’ This publication is false. May I share some logical information? After the body of the deceased, Shemar Miggins, was handed over to the police the hospital no longer had any contact with the cadaver. To note : after the involvement of the police and subsequent autopsy by the coroner, hospital officials no longer had access to or authority over the cadaver, and therefore the hospital could not at any time deny an autopsy or further studies mandated by the police or requested by the family. I can recall a visit to my office by the deceased’s family on which occasion they told me of their intention to do toxicology studies. I explained to them that the hospital respects their decision but any step further will have to follow the protocols and laws of Guyana. I told them that since the body was in their possession they may  proceed with their toxicology studies, but since it is a police matter the hospital cannot manipulate/ modify/give access to a body that was no longer within our perimeters or reach.

Editor, after giving this explanation it is my hope that in the interest of proper journalism and the delivery of genuine news with respect to future events relating directly or indirectly to the West Demerara Regional Hospital, you would make contact with the institution before publishing information. This will also permit verification and clarification.

Once more my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased.

Yours faithfully,
Dr V Bridgemohan
Editor’s note

Stabroek News was told by relatives that when they asked for Shemar’s organs to be removed so they could have a second examination done, the hospital informed them that the police had to grant permission. When they went to the Vreed-en-Hoop police station an officer there told them it was the duty of the hospital to discharge the order for the removal of body organs, not the police. Stabroek News tried to contact Chief Medical Officer Shamdeo Persaud for a comment but was unsuccessful.

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