Body of child who died from cancer at GPHC given to wrong family before private PME

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By Fareeza Haniff

While a family is grappling to deal with the suspicious death of their 6-year-old child, they have been dealt another blow – this time with the premature Post-Mortem Examination (PME) and the handing over of her body to strangers for burial.

This is what occurred at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) Friday to Sharezer Mendonca of Queenstown Essequibo Coast – the third child who died after she was given an injection before her chemotherapy treatment for Leukemia – a form of cancer.

The GPHC has since launched an investigation into these deaths.

The Mendonca family retained the services of Attorneys Ganesh Hira and Chandrapratesh Satram, who informed the GPHC on Friday that the family is hiring an independent Pathologist from Trinidad and Tobago to observe the PME of the young child on Monday.

Attorney Hira told News Room Friday he received oral confirmation from the Hospital that they will await the arrival of the Pathologist but on Friday when Sharezer’s parents arrived at the GPHC Mortuary to transfer her body, they were shocked when the porters gave them the wrong child.

The Mendoncas subsequently learnt that Sharezer’s body was handed over to an Amerindian family from Bartica.

The Hospital then contacted the driver of the Hearse who managed to turn around and return the body of Sharezer.

According to Attorney Hira, the Mendoncas were given permission to examine the body when they noticed cuts and stitches, an indication that a PME was performed.

“Having regards to the events that unfolded today, we believe that it’s very much possible that these people at the hospital are trying to do a cover-up. I think they’re trying to botch the investigation.

“It boggles the mind how a child can be handed over to somebody else without the proper procedures being followed,” Attorney Hira told News Room.

Prior to a PME being conducted, the body has to be identified by a relative.

According to the lawyer, another PME can be done on Sharezer’s body but given what transpired “it opens up the possibility for persons to say ‘oh, this is not how the body was when it left the hospital.’”

News Room understands that the Mendoncas met with the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brigadier (Rt’d) George Lewis Friday afternoon.

When contacted by News Room, the CEO said that the PME was done after the body was positively identified by two relatives – the mother and aunt of the other family.

Azeena, an aunt of Sharezer told News Room that she spoke with the Amerindian family who told her that they identified their baby girl for the PME but instead the wrong body was given to them for burial.

“They said they identified their baby but a Post Mortem was performed on Sharezer,” Azeena said.

“I don’t know what…there aren’t words to describe the negligence at GPHC,” a frustrated Azeena told News Room.

The PME of Sharezer was performed by Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh Friday.

According to the hospital’s CEO, Dr Singh will now perform another PME on Sharezer on Monday at 08:00hrs.

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