Patient abandonment a strain on GPHC


The issue of patient abandonment at the Georgetown Public Hospital is putting a strain on the public institution.

Coordinator (acting) of the Social Work Department, Clayton Newman, told the News Room that approximately 10 patients have been left at the institution by relatives who refuse to care for them. This also puts the patients at risk of contracting other diseases.

“You have patients here for more than two years…I mean the Georgetown Hospital don’t dump you out but it’s not ideal place for you.

“We have patients for more than six months and three months. It is ridiculous to hear families tell you – I am not taking them back – and because of that they just stay stuck with us and on a sad note some of them die right here in despair,” Newman explained.

He said that this happens mostly with elderly patients and that there is a rumor in the streets that the Georgetown Hospital is the ideal place to leave patients.

“We are asking the general public – please do not leave your patients. Take them to the Palms or take them somewhere where they can get help.”

Another challenge faced by the Department is the issue of misinformation. Newman explained that persons often time give wrong information when they come into the emergency room, making it difficult to contact relatives.

Coordinator (acting) of the Social Work Department, Clayton Newman (Photo: News Room/March 16, 2021)

Guyana joined with the world in celebrating World Social Work Day on Tuesday.

With a total of 11 social workers that cover the whole institution, Newman said their work is notable.

The social workers assist patients daily with their healing process in a non-medical way.

“If you understand the healing process, medication works up to a point….we counsel them, work with their families against all odds to make sure all is well for them,” Newman said.

He said patients are usually referred to the Department by doctors if there is social need.

Additionally, social workers also patrol the wards on a daily basis to observe patients with social ills that may need help.

“We provide the minimum for them – get them some new clothes, tooth brush and that kind of stuff,” Newman said.

A social worker attached to the Intensive Care Unit, the female medical and surgical wards and the high dependency unit, Merissa Welkie, said while it is challenging it is fulfilling to be social worker.

“My role here as a social is basically to bridge the gap between medical or persons with medical issues in a way of aiding them to get the resources or advocate for them to get the resources that they need for recovery,” Welkie stated.

Merissa Welkie (Photo: News Room/March 16, 2021)

She explained that many persons who suffer trauma do not have what it takes to recover on their own and this is where the Department comes in.



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