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‘Treatment poor at Ward 41’
A former government minister yesterday upstaged a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commission a new ramp at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital to complain about the treatment “her grandson” was receiving at the institution. Verna St Rose-Greaves said Randy Reyes, 16, who was left brain dead after being struck in the head by a stray bullet in March was not receiving the type of care he should at Ward 41.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said he was unaware about the case and instructed chairman of the North West Regional Health Authority Dr Andy Bhagwandass to investigate it. Reyes, of Diego Martin, a student of Mucurapo East Secondary School, was caught in the cross-fire during a shootout with opposing gangs at O’Donahue Street. He had just returned home from karate lessons and was playing football with his friends. The teenager was shot in the mouth and the bullet exited through his head.
Describing herself as one of Reyes’ “three grandmothers”, St Rose-Greaves said when the teenager was initially warded at the Intensive Care Unit he was given “top class treatment” by doctors and nurses. “The problem started in the aftercare when he was placed in Ward 41. He was supposed to be on a liquid diet and instead they gave him bread and sausage and that caused the back of his throat to rupture.
“He was rushed into surgery and placed in the High Dependency Unit. He was also given excellent treatment there. We begged for him not to be returned to Ward 41 but there was this one nurse who insisted he be sent back,” St Rose-Greaves said. She said while at the ward Reyes was supposed to be weaned off the catheter and the family was told it would be a couple of days for his release. “We all were waiting for this child to come home but he ended up getting a stroke and heart attack which resulted in extensive brain damage.
“When they took out the tracheostomy tube it was hard and crystalised at the end, meaning that it was never cleaned in the first place. “Somebody do something. This hospital needs a rehabilitation unit. It needs staff that is caring. We now have a child with his whole life ahead of him because one person or a few persons decided that they are not going to do what they suppose to do,” St Rose-Greaves said. She also urged others who have had issues with Ward 41 to come forward and let their voices be heard.
The ramp, the Health Minister said, cost $740,168.75 and took about two months to be completed. It allows a link between the central block and the north block for patients and staff members.