34 of 47 COVID-19 deaths occurred at GPHC; all had underlying conditions – Dr Jeffrey
Of the 47 COVID-19 deaths recorded thus far, 34 occurred at the Georgetown Public Hospital but Director of Medical and Professional Services Dr Fawcett Jeffrey says no evidence is there to show the hospital is at fault.
He said all of the patients had underlying medical conditions.
Dr Jeffrey at a press conference on Tuesday noted that there has been “a massive climb” in the cases over the past month during which the hospital also saw a major increase in recorded deaths.
But he said: “most of the reports we have reviewed, we cannot find it was lack of medication or the lack of ventilation or the lack of other supporting things that may have caused the demise of the patients.”
He told the News Room that while some hospital staff previously complained about inadequate access to personal protective equipment, it did not hinder work at the hospital.
“I don’t think that there is a limitation of resources for my doctors working in the COVID ICU that has actually caused the demise of the patients. I think it’s just the natural history in patients that are severely ill and have comorbidities that have caused the number of deaths,” Dr Jeffrey explained.
He pointed out that there are still several unknown factors when it comes to COVID-19.
Guyana has so far recorded 48 COVID-19 deaths with the youngest being a 28-year-old woman.
Without a post mortem to get a pathological diagnosis, Dr Jeffrey said the GPHC is conducting an investigation into each death. This he said presents an opportunity to review the process from admission to death to see if there were any deficiencies.
However, it is still not as accurate as a PME which would have “allowed us to get into more depth as to what damage did COVID or the other underlying conditions that the patients have that would have caused or made them die.”
The GPHC currently has the only COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit.
Dr Jeffrey admitted that the backlog in testing for COVID-19 affected the timely treatment of patients who spent longer in the transition ward at the hospital.
“If a patient is ill but is awaiting results and the results take a longer time than usual, then, of course, that patient has to be in that same area for a long time because you have not been able to define if the patient is COVID positive or not so you can’t send them to another part of the hospital,” he explained.
The Ministry of Health has now sent 1,000 samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) laboratory in Trinidad and Tobago to reduce the backlog in tests.
The Ministry announced on Monday that 339 of those results were returned.
Chief Executive Officer at GPHC, brigadier (ret’d) George Lewis issued a plea for persons to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines and protect themselves so the surge in positive cases can reduce.