GPHC fire: Investigators revisit scene as probe continues

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The aftermath of the fire at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation

A team of investigators from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and Guyana Fire Service (GFS) on Thursday revisited the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s (GPHC) Echocardiology Laboratory as the probe continues into the blaze that was set to the building on January 1.

This was confirmed by GPHC’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Jai Lall who explained that as far as the institution is aware, the investigation remains active.

Having determined that the fire was an act of arson, the main suspect, a doctor – who was suspended on allegations of sexual harassment – was arrested for questioning but subsequently released on station bail.

He remains off the job, on administrative leave. The doctor was sent on leave on December 31 after a female staff filed a complaint of sexual harassment against him.

INews understands that a review of security footage shows the doctor in the hospital’s compound moments before the fire. He was reportedly seen acting in a suspicious manner and when questioned, gave conflicting reports regarding his purpose at the institution.

Over $20M in equipment were damaged in the blaze.

According to Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, the destruction of the equipment will compromise the institution’s cardiac programme.

The Health Minister has already cautioned that disruption to services offered at the echocardiography laboratory can last for months as authorities seek to procure new equipment.

At the time of the fire, there were at least 11 patients in the vicinity – seven in the cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and four in another ICU. They were all evacuated to safety.