Committee appointed to probe incidents at New Amsterdam Hospital
Guyana Chronicle
December 12, 2001

PERMANENT Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mr. Dourga Persaud has appointed a five-member committee to investigate the circumstances of the deaths last month of Mr. Shahabodeen Kassim and another patient after they were admitted to the New Amsterdam Hospital in Berbice.

The committee comprises one doctor from the Ministry of Health, one from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GHPC), and three from the private sector, the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy is continuing to express concerns about the hospital.

"Instead of the administration dealing with issues, it is trying to discredit what I am doing," he said, and cautioned media houses about misrepresenting an incident which occurred during the minister's visit to the institution on December 1.

"They were not there and are carrying stories of what happened. Well, I have it on tape," he said.

He noted too the subsequent misrepresentation of the incident in which a doctor is claiming that the minister assaulted him.

Several persons, including members of the media who were present, confirmed Ramsammy's version of the incident, and according to the minister, this presents further reason for disciplinary action.

He added that staffers who are caught conspiring to misrepresent information will be disciplined.

The minister has stated that disciplinary action will be taken against two doctors at the institution for failing to respond to emergencies in a timely manner on November 24 and December 1, respectively.

The first incident was when Kassim, 25, shot by bandits, was taken to the hospital and it took more than two hours before he was seen by the surgeon. He later died.

A more recent incident occurred during the minister's visit to the institution on World AIDS Day.

A woman had been beaten unconscious and, more than an hour later, there was still no doctor to attend to the patient.

Ramsammy summoned the doctor and he responded a few minutes after the minister's intervention.

Ramsammy sought an explanation for the doctor's failure to respond to the emergency call in a timely manner and, in expressing his dissatisfaction, the minister raised his voice, as the doctor continued to argue with him.

The other death the committee is to probe is that of a patient following surgery for cancer of the penis. (GINA)