Vice Chairperson Policy,
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Commonwealth Youth Council
The Guyana government has expressed concern over an incident in which one of its nationals, Jeetindra Sookram, died after he was denied urgent medical attention at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, on Thursday. Guyana consul general Ernie Ross said yesterday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana is now liaising with the T&T authorities to ensure that something like this never happens again.
“We will be aggressively pursing the matter with the authorities here with a view to determine what happened and the consequences of the action and to ensure that it never happens again,” Ross told the T&T Guardian. He also promised financial help to Sookram’s wife Vidya Bachu, who has appealed for help to take her husband’s body back to Guyana.
A subsequent statement by the Guyana Foreign Affairs Ministry stated: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is deeply concerned over the reported incident in which a Guyanese national was refused emergency medical attention at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and later succumbed while being taken to another medical institution.”
It further stated that Ross had asked Health Minister Fuad Khan to investigate the incident. “The Minister has assured that the matter is already under investigation and has reaffirmed the principle that no one should ever be refused emergency medical attention at any hospital. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be aggressively pursuing the matter with the authorities of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Uncertain future ahead
Bachu and Sookram, 35, a farmer, who shared a three month common-law relationship, came to Trinidad on Tuesday on a two-week vacation. But on Thursday Sookram was taken to the EWMSC after complaining of chest pains. Bachu said when she went to register him after their arrival, a female staff member told her they would have to pay for all medical services because he was not a T&T citizen.
Bachu then took him to a private medical clinic in Charlieville, but by the time they reached the institution’s car park he was already dead.
Asked yesterday why did she not offer to pay the EWMSC hospital fee instead of going to a private hospital back in Chaguanas, Bachu said: “I asked her how much I have to pay. She told me she can’t tell me that until everything is finished.
“If she would give me an answer I would have paid. She tell me I have to wait. I am not a Trinidadian I am a Guyanese, she did not explain anything me.” Bachu said when she went back to her husband, who was sitting on a chair, after dealing with the hospital officials, he had cotton on his finger. She said she assumed someone drew blood from him. She said her husband’s situation became worse as they waited and other people were being attended to as it became obvious to them her husband needed immediate attention.
“He was crying in pain. He was in so much pain and nobody came to talk to us. After a couple of minutes we told him let’s go to a private doctor.” Unsure how she would handle his autopsy at the EWMSC’s mortuary today, Bachu said her husband used to support her and her three children, ages three, 12 and 13, from a previous relationship. Bachu, who is unemployed, said they had plans to get married in December. The North West Regional Health Authority has launched an investigation into the incident.