‘I lost my best friend’- Mother of late pregnant teen cries for answers


By Isanella Patoir


Diana Pestano is desperate for answers after her only daughter, 16-year-old Dana Pestano, died last month after she complained of shortness of breath, belly pains and back pains.

The teenager was six months pregnant and her mother is accusing the West Demerara Regional Hospital of negligence.

During an interview with the News Room on Tuesday, Diana related that her daughter was asthmatic and was admitted at the hospital on May 26 after she complained of feeling unwell.

The young girl spent a few hours in the hospital and was discharged even though the nurses reportedly could not locate her baby’s heartbeat.

The next day (on May 27), her condition worsened and her mother rushed her back to the hospital. This time, Diana claimed that her daughter was not given the necessary and adequate care and she believes this is what led to her death.

Dana’s condition further deteriorated and she was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) where she and her baby died while receiving treatment on May 27, 2022.

Dead: 16-year-old Dana Pestano

The results of an autopsy were inconclusive and Diana said samples were taken to be sent overseas for testing.

To date, the family has not been informed about what led to Dana’s death but GPHC’s Head of Strategic Management and Communications, Chelauna Providence, told the News Room that an investigation is underway.

What happened on May 26?

On May 26 at about 19:30hrs, Diana said her daughter started experiencing problems breathing.

“After she was getting a hard time breathing, I suggested it was her asthma was attacking her so I take her to West Dem Hospital and they [checked] her and said she is not wheezing and they give her some oxygen and some tablets that they always give her for asthma,” Diana explained.

After Dana felt better, the doctor checked her again and the expectant mother told the doctor that while she was breathing fine, she was experiencing belly pains and pain in her pelvic area.

“The doctor put her on the bed to lie down and he told her he was going to check the baby’s heartbeat and like 10 minutes he was there checking for the baby heart beat and he didn’t find the baby heartbeat,” a tearful Diana related.

Diana claimed that her daughter was later discharged at about 21:30hrs that night.

“I didn’t think that was right, why you sending her home and you didn’t find the baby heart beat and she was crying out for pain?”

The Next Day

The mother said they went home and the next morning, Dana was still having trouble breathing, and so, she took her back to the hospital.

There she was checked again and placed on oxygen and medication.

Diana said she realised something was wrong after her daughter was not getting better with the oxygen and medication.

“I beg the nurse, I said: ‘nurse please, my daughter is not breathing’ and the nurse said she willing to help but she has to go by the doctor instruction.

“I went to the doctor and said my daughter is not breathing and he said: ‘left her she will catch herself’,” Diana explained.

Too late

Hours later when the shift changed and another doctor took over, he tried to help the Dana but it was too late.

“She hold on to his [the doctor] hands and she called me and take off her mask, and she said: ‘Mommy I love you, I will not make it’ – and she made one holler and I knew that was her life coming out of her body,” the grieving mother said.

By that time, Diana too lost consciousness; she woke up in a hospital bed and was told her daughter was ‘knocked out’ to help treat her better.

Dana was later transferred to GPHC.

When she arrived there, the doctors could not find a pulse “but they pump her and get back some kind of heart beat and then I see they push a tube down her throat and I see she breathing off the machine and they made me believe that she catch back herself and all the time she was already dead,” a distraught Diana said.

Dana died at about 22:00 hrs on May 27.  Diana explained that her daughter was enrolled at a high-risk prenatal clinic at the Leonora Hospital.

Excited for motherhood

Dana was described as a loving and jovial person.

“That child was all that I had, [she] was my best friend, [she] was my everything.

“The doctors could have tried to do something to save my daughter life, sometimes I does feel like I cannot breathe because she was all I had, everything we used to confide in each other. It was me and her in this whole world alone,” Diana said through tears.

Dana was excited to become a mother. She was expecting a baby boy and had already bought everything to welcome him; she even picked out his name.

“We already had a name for him, it was supposed to be Demetrius Pestano cause her name is Dana, my name is Diana and I told her let we keep the ‘D’.”

The mother and daughter had plans of operating their own business together while the young woman had dreams of becoming a cosmetologist.

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