N/A hospital under scrutiny after death of asthma patient
Stabroek News
September 26, 2002

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An investigation is to be launched into the death of the wife of a Land Court judge at the New Amsterdam hospital.

The Berbice Medical Association(BMA), in a press release, said "the recent death of a 46-year-old female patient, who was suffering from an acute asthmatic attack, at the Accident & Emergency Unit, was most unfortunate and moreso because of an unavailability of medical personnel on her arrival at the institution. Not even a medex was in attendance," the release said.

The BMA said the decision taken by the Minister of Health to launch an investigation into the circumstances following the death of the wife of John Persaud, Land Court Judge, which occurred July 30 seems to be a step in the right direction.

The BMA is fully supportive of the minister's intended action.

And the BMA noted that there have been similar complaints of occurrences involving the deaths of other patients and it is calling on the Medical Superintendent and the Regional Health Authority to be held liable for such deaths.

The Association said steps should be taken to censure and or to remove such personnel who may be responsible for the staffing, prompt attention and care of patients attending the institution.

But Medical Superintendent at the Hospital, Dr John Austin, said he was unaware of the case raised by the association and as such could not comment on it. Questioned if he knew of other cases where persons have died without receiving medical attention at the institution, the doctor said he was unaware.

Dr Austin said if the association was aware of such a case they should have at least reported it to him, the matron or the hospital's administrator. He could not say if a report was made to the latter two officers.

"I don't understand why when people have a problem they always run to the politicians or the press before reporting the matter to the relevant person. If they report the matter and nothing is done then go to the politicians or the press," the doctor advised.

Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, had caused an investigation to be launched earlier this year at the same hospital after a shooting victim had died before receiving any medical attention. The victim, who was in the process of being transferred to Georgetown, was at the hospital for sometime and there were no doctors to attend to him. Further, there was at least one other case that the minister had made public and had instructed that there be a investigation into the circumstances surrounding that persons' death.