Berbice vendor claims medical negligence in wife, baby's death
Stabroek News
March 29, 2004

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A father of two says he is still angry over the way he was treated by the administration of the New Amsterdam Hospital after his 38-year-old wife died there. She had been admitted to give birth.

Kalowtie Punwasy of Lot 27 Lochaber, West Canje Berbice, died at the hospital on February 4 after delivering a stillborn child.

Her husband Phillip Punwasy feels that his wife died as a result of gross negligence at the hands of the nurses and doctor at the hospital.

Efforts to contact Dr Vishnu Mahadeo, who is the acting medical superintendent at the hospital and Regional Health Officer, Dr Joseph Khalikapersad proved to be futile as they were said to be out of office.

When Stabroek News contacted the doctor who was on duty on the day of the woman's death, he told this newspaper that he was not allowed to speak to the media adding that if the woman's relatives said he was negligent then the hospital needed to investigate the matter. This newspaper understands that Dr Khalikapersad in response to a report carried on Little Rock Television (LRTV) in Berbice said that the hospital was going to investigate the matter.

The woman's husband told Stabroek News that the night before the woman's death she woke him up and told him that she was bleeding. He said she was scheduled to give birth to their child around that time. It was around 11 pm and with the assistance of two off-duty nurses in the area he took his wife to the hospital.

He said he was not allowed to enter the hospital with his wife but was told the doctor was being called.

According to the grieving man he returned to the hospital at around 6 am the next day and the nurses told him they had some bad news. "I ask dem wah happen and dey tell me that de baby born dead and right away I ask dem wah happen to me wife and dey tell me she deh bad. Dey den ask me who and me come and I tell dem me alone and dey tell me to call somebody else to come to them hospital. Right away I feel something bad happen but I went downstairs to mek the phone call..."

Punwasy said as he was placing the call some relatives arrived at the hospital and told him they received a call informing them that the woman had died.

He said he was informed that the doctor never visited the hospital until 5 am and his wife died half an hour later. According to reports when the woman was admitted and the doctor was called the nurses were told to monitor her condition even though she was bleeding heavily.

The man said if his wife was in need of blood, which reports have indicated, the nurses should have called him since his telephone number was on the clinic card and he would have been able to get the blood the same night.

"I am angry, very angry and I decide nah fuh go back to the hospital. These people ent tell me nothing. Dey behave as if it is me who mek me wife dead," the man said.

The stillborn male child was delivered at around 4 am. The father revealed that when the bodies were handed over, there was a pair of scissors on the umbilical cord of his son. He said relatives removed it just before the child and his mother were buried.

Punwasy said his wife had seen the same doctor the Friday before she died and he had not told her of any complications with the pregnancy.

Relatives of the woman, who has two other children, ages 14 and 12, said they were shocked over her death.

The man said in September of 2000 his wife was pregnant and she was hospitalised for three and a half weeks and as soon as she was discharged she had a stillbirth. He said at that time his wife was suffering from hypertension. However, he said his wife was not ill during the last pregnancy.

The man, who is a vendor, lamented how much he and his children miss the woman who was said to be the live wire of the family.