Deaths of children at GPHC…Guyana Medical Council concludes probe into doctors’ conduct

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…files sent to disciplinary committee

More than three months have passed since the deaths of three juveniles occurred at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and although two independent investigations into those matters have been concluded, sanctions, if any, are yet to be imposed.

Chairman of the Guyana Medical Council, Dr Navindranauth Rambarran, in an exclusive interview with Inews on Saturday said that the Guyana Medical Council has concluded its probe into the deaths and the files have been sent to the council’s Disciplinary Committee.

“All I could say on the issue is that the issue is now engaging the disciplinary committee at the medical council. But the course of natural justice has to take its path. So I cannot comment on that further,” Dr Rambarran said.

With regard to the doctors who were found in the initial probe by the hospital to be negligent of following protocol, and who are still on the job, Dr Rambarran explained that it is not the role of the Guyana Medical Council to interfere in those operations but rather, the Disciplinary Committee has to do its work.

GPHC, earlier this year, concluded its own probe into the matter, which found that the medical personnel did not follow the established protocol in administering drugs to the three children who died earlier this year.

In March last, Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) of Guyana, Dr Karen Gordon-Campbell, told the media that the doctors who treated the three juvenile leukaemia patients who later died at the GPHC administered the drugs incorrectly. Instead of intrathecal administration of the drug vincristine, they administered it intravenously.

It was this that led to the adverse reactions of those three children and ultimately their deaths.

She explained that investigations revealed that protocols the medical practitioners should have followed would have stipulated which drug has to be administered “when and where.”

“It wasn’t a question of dosage but administration in terms of where it was administered. That was done incorrectly. The dosages would have been fine but in terms of where they administered what,” the Deputy CMO explained.

She stated that the three medical personnel involved in the matters were aware that they had broken protocol but not at the initial stage of administering the medicinal drugs to those patients.

“The reasons that were given encompassed the fact that they were stretched and maybe not fully attentive at the time. That pretty much is the long and short of the reasons given but I don’t think that initially they realised. But eventually, when they recognised that the patients were deteriorating when they checked they realised their mistake.”

Deficiencies

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Board of Directors at the GPHC, Kesaundra Alves told the media that an internal investigation by the hospital’s administration into the circumstances surrounding the treatment of three leukaemia patients and their subsequent adverse reactions has revealed that human deficiencies and systemic challenges contributed to the demise of those three children.

“Statements were solicited from the parties directly or indirectly involved and parties who were witnesses or otherwise privy to pertinent information that could assist with the investigation. The Director of Medical and Professional Services, Dr Jeffery, submitted his final report to the Chief Executive Officer on January 28, 2019. That report concluded that human deficiencies and systemic challenges contributed to the demise of the three children.”

She stated that an independent investigation by the Public Health Ministry was also launched and findings were similar to those of the GPHC’s; non-adherence to the hospital’s protocols led to the three young children succumbing at the GPHC.

Since the deaths occurred, parents and other activists have been calling for the suspension of medical licenses of those doctors responsible for the deaths of seven-year-old Curwayne Edwards on January 14, three-year-old Roshini Seegobin on January 18 and six-year-old Sharezer Mendonca on January 24.

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