Divisive drug cytotec approved for use only by medical practionsers- CMO

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In light of a recent maternal death where the drug cytotec was used to induce labour in the patient, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud, has stated that that drug has been approved for use by medical practitioners and not for over-the-counter use.

Dr Shamdeo Persaud, when questioned on why the drug is still being administered even though it poses severe health risks, stated that the drug has been approved for use by medical practitioners and not for over-the-counter use.

“This is where the mix-up is. It is not that it is not approved. It is, but for medical practitioners, not over-the-counter use,” the CMO said, noting that the woman’s labour was induced following protocol.

He stated that the hospital is currently compiling a report to be submitted to him before he could make a more pronounced determination on the matter.

The mother of three died after cytotec was administered to induce labour at the Georgetown Public Hospital, making it the eleventh maternal death for the year.

The woman, Rhonda Cornelius of Gafoor’s compound, Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara, died at the hospital on Saturday morning after giving birth four days earlier. According to the coroner’s report, Cornelius suffered a ruptured uterus, causing her death. It was reported that cytotec was given to her to induce her labour, although the doctor was aware that she was hypertensive.

Dead: Rhonda Cornelius
Dead: Rhonda Cornelius

The woman’s husband, Rodwell Cornelius, said his wife was suffering from high blood pressure during her pregnancy, but managed to carry the baby full-term without any major complications.

Cornelius recalled that he received a call from the hospital at about midnight, but he was not graced with good news. “They told me to come now to the hospital that she was bleeding bad and that they had to operate on her. So they take out her womb because she was bleeding too much,” the man said, recalling that the doctor told him that his wife had lost 80 per cent of her blood and that they would try their best to save her life.

According to the husband, he was told by doctors that the only way she could be saved is if they remove the uterus, to which he agreed.

“But my wife never wake up back. She did open her eyes after the surgery. All I could remember is she shaking her head in the coma and I thought that she was coming around. But she left me with two children and a baby,” the grieving husband said.

Cytotec, which is often used in an attempt induce labour, has accounted for over 10 per cent of maternal deaths in Guyana, former Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy had stated in 2009. (Guyana Times)

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