Weekend maternal deaths: Health Ministry probing for potential shortcomings in care

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There were two maternal deaths reported at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) last weekend and both the Health Ministry and the Corporation are probing the deaths for potential shortcomings in the care provided.

This is according to Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, who responded to questions from the News Room during his COVID-19 update on Monday.

“… as is our protocol, any deaths at the GPHC would undergo a thorough internal review and so that review has commenced. While they are doing that, there will be an external investigation by the maternal mortality committee (of the Ministry of Health).

“The findings would help us to see if there were any gap in providing care (and) if there were any, we have to address those gaps,” the Health Minister said.

The GPHC, in two separate press releases, related that two mothers died while receiving treatment.

In the first release, it was noted that a 40-year-old woman from Region Six (East Berbice- Corentyne) died on Friday while receiving treatment at the National Infectious Diseases hospital at Liliendaal, Georgetown.

The News Room understands that the woman tested positive for COVID-19 and was receiving treatment at the hospital. She was, however, grappling with other underlying conditions including antenatal hypertension and asthma.

At the time of the woman’s death, the unborn child was not at a viable age.

In a subsequent release, it was announced that a 19-year-old pregnant woman and her twin died on Sunday.

Dr. Anthony, on Monday, explained that both women experienced complications while receiving treatment.

He related that the 40-year-old woman developed complications while receiving care at the New Amsterdam hospital in Region Six. She was intubated and brought to the Liliendaal hospital for further treatment. She, however, died.

Meanwhile, the 19-year-old woman experienced preeclampsia. Dr. Anthony explained that this condition, which is a high blood pressure (hypertension) disorder that can occur during pregnancy, affected the treatment the expecting mother received.

“Both were extremely complicated cases and the medical response in any event would’ve been quite difficult to work with these patients,” the Health Minister said.

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