One year later: Sharezer Mendonca’s family still await death certificate

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Loss will forever be a part of our existence but the loss of a child will never feel normal. The loss of a child has the innate ability to wear down even the strongest of person to the point of no return. Losing your child under suspicious circumstances only increases that burden to do right by them.

For the past year, Shazella Mendonca has been fighting tooth and nail to get justice for her baby. However, it seems that the obstacles are never-ending in her quest for justice.

The hardest goodbye is the one that was never said or heard, but what can be more devastating is not being able to bring your perpetrator to justice.

Hearing Shazella Mendonca speak about that unbearable loss is enough to reduce one to tears. The mother speaks with an emptiness that only the presence of her six-year-old child can fill. The emptiness is growing with every tick of the clock and not a moment goes by without her remembering her Sharezer.

Sharezer Mendonca

Sharezer died at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) on January 24, 2019, after the injection was administered intravenously instead of intrathecal administration.

Sharezer and two other children were injected intravenously, causing them to become paralysed, which then led to multiple organ failures and their subsequent deaths.

The drugs, Vincristine and Methotrexate, formed part of the children’s pre-chemotherapy treatment. A probe by the hospital found that malpractice resulted in the deaths of Sharezer, seven-year-old Corwin Edwards and three-year-old Roshini Seegobin.

Since her daughter’s death, Shazella has been trying to find some closure because of the way in which her daughter died. Although she has two other children, Mendonca still feels that emptiness because Sharezer was her first and precious little girl.

Death certificate

Now, one year after her the death of her baby girl, Mendonca is still to receive critical documentation from the GPHC. The still grieving mother is yet to receive her baby’s death certificate from the institution that is reportedly the cause of her loss.

“We haven’t up to now received death certificate up to now and Friday was one year since Sharezer’s death and there is nothing up to now,” the grieving mother said in an interview with Guyana Times.

She said she is becoming increasingly frustrated with the GPHC and the Guyana Medical Council, which is supposedly investigating the circumstances surrounding the six-year-old’s death.

Sanctions

“Guyana’s Medical Council and the Ministry of Health has been silent on the possible sanctions for those involved. There really is no justice in Guyana. The system continues to frustrate us. I haven’t received any information from the hospital like in months. I haven’t heard anything from them. It been a while,” she explained.

In December last, Chairman of the Medical Council of Guyana, Dr Navindranauth Rambaran said that hearings on the deaths of the three children will start in January 2020 before the Council’s Disciplinary Committee.

He added that after the hearings are concluded, the Council will decide on the way forward based on the recommendations put forward by the disciplinary committee. However, calls to get an update on this proved futile.

Since the incidents, parents and other activists have been calling for the suspension of medical licenses of those doctors responsible for the deaths of Edwards on January 14, Seegobin on January 18 and Mendonca on January 24.

The GPHC and the Public Health Ministry had launched separate investigations, which found that the medication was incorrectly administered. In addition, the investigation found that the medical personnel did not follow the established protocol in administering the drug.