GUYANA: Being Aware of our Medical Standards and Patient Care – By Yvonne Sam

Being Aware of our Medical Standards and Patient Care – By Yvonne Sam

First do no harm

Allow me to express my ongoing dissatisfaction at the current nursing standards in Guyana.  I oftentimes maintain the belief that the media should not report certain occurrences, as it only serves to further cast a negative light on our existing archaic method of health and patient care. The late great Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver”. Hence, a government is only as wealthy as the health of its citizens.  

Case in question refers to the headline, Kaieteur News December 31, 2017, “Drunken man jumps to death from overhead walk-way”, and Stabroek News January 1, 2018. Media report states that the now-deceased, 46 year old Navin Surujpaul, was not only a patient of the Diamond Diagnostic Centre but was also in a state of inebriation, having arrived there earlier with undisclosed injuries sustained from a motor vehicle accident.

Once patient registration requirements had been fulfilled, from that point onward, the Centre had a legal responsibility to ensure his safety and protection from harm and danger. Seemingly the converse took place.  Although not indicated in the report, it is interesting to know what diagnostic means and/or measures were utilized, in order to establish the term extremely intoxicated, a rendered state of cognition and functioning that from a nursing standpoint automatically demands the exercising of a higher level of nursing care and attention..

On his arrival to the Centre what level of staff conducted a triage on this hapless individual?  The initial assessmentand management of victims of motor vehicle accidents follow a logical sequence in proper functioning Emergency Departments. Was there a doctor on duty?  Was the patient the victim of a frontal collision, lateral or rear impact, each of which would indicate the type of injuries to look for, as there are characteristic injury patterns associated with injuries from road traffic accidents?. These injuries are usually multisystem.  Was his level of consciousness (LOC) checked, and if so how often?  Was there any cause for concern? Who was kept appraised of the patient’s condition?

Another disturbing facet of this sad saga that further demonstrates medical negligence bordering on to gross incompetence is the fact that the patient should have been in bed under continual nursing supervision, and restrained or watched by an orderly.  Such a move would have immediately thwarted or averted all efforts to escape, although one questions why an obviously impaired-thinking, disorderly behaving patient was not intercepted as he stormed out the dressing room, turned over the water dispenser, walked out into the yard, removed the barriers that were erected to prevent trespassers away from the unfinished walkway, scrambled to the top and jumped to his death. In my current state of menssana, in corporesano, I am forcing myself

(with quite a struggle) to believe that, not only the hospital personnel but also members of the general public allowed this deadly sickening saga, performed by a clearly agitated actor to be played out before their very eyes. Have we become a nation of sleepers rather than our brothers and sisters’ keepers?

It is reported that the deceased claimed that he was seeing an invisible man with a cutlass, obvious verbal disclosures of active hallucinations, further compounded by the presence of alcohol in his system. Despite the recorded fact that the deceased was involved in a motor vehicle accident with sustained injuries, there is no report from arrival to death, of him having undergone any diagnostic tests at the Centre, despite two glaring facts: the Diagnostic Centre boasts of state of the art equipment, and state of the art health care. To the personnel tasked with providing emergency and diagnostic medical and nursing care, was the possibility of traumatic brain injury considered? Was the doctor made aware of the patient’s behavior even before he exited the compound?  What intervention was recommended/ suggested?

A life has been lost and hopefully a lesson learned. I am calling on the Minister of Health along   with the Administration of the Diagnostic Centre to thoroughly investigate this incident, aimed at preventing any future or further occurrences

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  • Sylvie (DaCosta) Kierstead  On January 3, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Excellent article Yvonne Sam! I am a big supporter of good health care and taking responsibility for your own health. I really like the quote from Mr. Ghandi, your good health is the real wealth. How true this is. Hope the Guyanese Government deem each person’s life, born and unborn, as the most valuable commodity it will ever own. I live in Ontario, Canada where the citizens here have the best access to health care and for that, I’m truly thankful. Happy you are making the Guyana Government aware of this important issue especially for the Seniors in our Society who are sometimes forgotten and forsaken.
    Keep up the good work Yvonne! Happy New Year to all in Guyana. God bless!

  • Hermina  On January 3, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Yvonne Sam as the reader above said, I sincerely hope that the Guyanese government take your recommendations seriously. You have doggedly stuck to issues that openly highlighted Guyana’s poor medical and healthcare standards, but as the saying goes “Do not tire in good doing via good writing”. Some day or one day someone will pay attention. Guyana has already sank to an all time low where human lives are valueless.
    Lord when thou comest make Guyana a priority. Amen.

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