Hospital denies claims woman who died from COVID did not receive proper care

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The authorities have confirmed that a woman was tied to a bed at the COVID-19 hospital because she kept removing the oxygen mask she was given to support her breathing.

The authorities have denied claims by the woman’s relatives that she did not receive proper care.  The woman has been identified as 76-year-old Elsa Simpson of No. 1 Village, Corentyne Berbice.

She was unvaccinated and died while in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Infectious Diseases (COVID) Hospital located at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara on December 10.

Annie Simpson, the woman’s eldest daughter

The News Room understands that the elderly woman tested positive for the virus on November 20 at the New Amsterdam Hospital.  She was sent home to self-isolate after she presented with no symptoms of the virus. However, a few days later, she started experiencing shortness of breath and was rushed to the hospital and subsequently transferred to the COVID Hospital.

“I am going to take legal action to find out exactly what happened to my mom,” Simpson’s eldest daughter Annie Simpson told reporters on Monday during a press conference at the Seawall Bandstand.

Annie works as a nurse in New York and treats COVID patients. She said she is not satisfied with the care her mother received while hospitalised. She claimed the family was given ‘mediocre’ updates via private phone calls.

Annie alleged that on the day her mother died, they frantically called the hospital and got no answer. At about 17:00 hrs, they finally received a call stating that her mother had passed away.

Communications Manager of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Chelauna Providence

She is claiming that it was not possible for her mother to contract the virus. Annie said everyone in the household is fully vaccinated. She explained that her mother did not refuse the vaccine but because of her health condition, she could physically visit a vaccination site.

According to Annie, her mother had an undiagnosed heart condition. While in the COVID Hospital the family was told that the woman was obese and had diabetes.

“My mom (was) a 76-year-old, loving person. She was loved by many, not a mean bone in her body,” the grieving daughter said.

It was Annie who claimed that her mother was bound to her hospital bed.

When contacted by the News Room, Chelauna Providence, Communications Manager of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), which has oversight of the COVID Hospital, told the News Room that Simpson was placed on a ventilator due to her low oxygen saturation.

Providence explained that the woman tried taking off her oxygen mask several times and this is why she was restrained.

“Based on our review of the patient’s care, we are satisfied that Ms. Simpson received appropriate, adequate, medically ethical care while she was at the [Ocean View] facility. So we are not conducting an investigation at this time,” Providence told the News Room.

Further, in response to the relatives’ claims that they were not allowed to take Elsa home, Providence said that the hospital does not release patients who are being treated in the ICU. Providence also noted that no request was made to the hospital for Simpson to be discharged.

The family also claimed that Simpson could not urinate and they believed she had a bladder infection; but the News Room understands that Simpson was placed on a catheter due to her low saturation and so, doctors advised that she did not move around.

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