Family of latest COVID-19 victim accuses GPHC of massive cover-up
-GPHC says victim was tested after her death; there was "glitch" in protocol to inform the family
By Bibi Khatoon
Relatives of 76-year-old May Portsmouth are accusing the Georgetown Public Hospital of a massive cover-up in the real cause of her death by claiming that she died from the Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Portsmouth of Friendship, East Coast Demerara was revealed to the media as the country’s 16th COVID-19 death on Monday night even before her family was informed by public health officials of her diagnosis.
They were only made aware by the media reports and doctors never informed them she was tested for the disease. The Director of Public Information Imran Khan on Monday night issued a three-sentence statement on the woman’s death and no details were provided about her address or whether she was tested before or after her death.
Up to the time that this article was written, authorities had not yet contacted the woman’s children and none of them who came into contact with her have been placed in quarantine nor have they been tested.
Portsmouth was rushed to the GPHC in the wee hours of Sunday, July 5 by her daughter one day after she fell down her stairs and suffered a mild heart attack.
She was treated in the emergency section and the family is now more suspicious of the actions of the doctors who gave their mother an injection just an hour before she died.
The family believes there is a cover-up afoot because a Post Mortem Examination (PME) cannot be performed on a patient who is listed as dying from COVID-19.
With no PME, the family will never be able to say how really the elderly woman died but they suspect it has to do with the injection she was given.
Her son, Lester Portsmouth told the News Room Tuesday that on July 3, his mother was taken to a private hospital where she has a specialized doctor.
She was told everything was ok and sent away with some medication but upon arriving home, she fell down.
“I picked her up and took her upstairs and she went back to normal and everything was ok,” Lester said.
However, on Saturday she began to complain of headaches and close to midnight she was rushed to the Georgetown Hospital.
“But at the middle of the night, like she started getting a seizure, I don’t know if is from the knock on the head or what….so my sister took her to the [Georgetown Public] Hospital,” Lester said.
He recalled that while at the hospital, his mother received an injection with the permission of his sister but no one was informed what the injection was for.
Lester maintained that his mother did not contract COVID-19 and noted he always took care of her given the pandemic and her age.
“My mother did not have any COVID-19. My mother don’t come on the road since COVID-19, I take her to the hospital, I sanitize she place for she, I don’t make them jokes, a big sanitizer in front the door,” Lester said.
He wants answers from the doctors at GPHC.
“Something they did to her and they putting COVID-19 on she so the post mortem won’t say what she died from. For COVID-19 they don’t cut you,” Lester said.
His suspicion is fueled by the silence from the Ministry of Public Health.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Strategic Planning and Communications Manager of the GPHC Chelauna Providence explained that the elderly woman was given an injection for pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot gets lodged in an artery in the lung, blocking blood flow to part of the lung.
Providence further explained that there seemed to have been a “glitch” in the protocol of informing the family first about the COVID-19 diagnosis before it was released to the media.
The protocol in place is that the family first needs to be notified followed by a statement from the Ministry of Public Health and then a statement from the GPHC.
In Portsmouth’s case, she said “for some reason, there was a glitch in the protocol this time around and the family was not notified. Our Medical and Professional Services Director has reached out to the family and offered apologies for that.”
Providence also revealed that Portsmouth was tested for the disease after she died and this decision was taken because she had displayed breathing problems.
However, the woman’s son said his mother always had a breathing problem.
“…she had a [breathing] problem since she was a young girl, she always getting short breath and she has something under the bed to put in her mouth,” Lester told the News Room.
The Ministry of Public Health has not issued a follow-up statement or any clarification on the matter.
When contacted, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Karen Gordon-Boyle told the News Room that she cannot discuss the patient’s clinical record as that will be in breach of patient confidentiality.