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Guyana ministry concerned

Visitor turned away at ‘Mt Hope’ dies

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana yesterday stated it was “deeply concerned” over the reported incident in which a Guyanese national on vacation in Trinidad is said to have died after being refused emergency medical attention at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
The Guyana ministry said it will be “aggressively pursuing” the matter.
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran said he too was “deeply concerned” over the situation and will be liaising with his Guyanese counterpart, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, on the matter.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan has “reaffirmed the principle that no one should ever be refused emergency medical attention at any hospital”.
According to a report in the Sunday Guardian, Guyanese nationals Jeetindra Sookram, 35, and his wife, Vidya Bachu, entered Trinidad last Tuesday for the start of a two-week vacation.
On Thursday, Sookram was taken to the Mt Hope hospital after he complained of chest pain, but was reportedly denied treatment.
It was alleged Bachu was told that because Sookram is not a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, he would have to pay for treatment.
Bachu opted instead to take Sookram to a private clinic in Charlie­ville, but he died in the back seat of a vehicle in the clinic’s car park.
An autopsy is expected to be performed on Sookram today.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana yesterday issued a news release addressing the situation.
“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,” the release stated.
“The Consul General of Guyana in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Ernie Ross, has requested the Minister of Health Fuad Khan to investigate this report,” the release added.
Dr Shehenaz Mohammed, chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority, has already ordered an investigation into 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,” said the release.
Dookeran said he will await the report into the situation.
“I will await the report from the Minister of Health into the situation and, in the meantime, I will keep in touch with the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Guyana,” Dookeran said yesterday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana called on Bachu to make contact with Ross at the Guyana Consulate over the situation.
Bachu is reported to have been appealing for help to have Sookram’s body returned to Guyana.
The trip is said to be costing more than $15,000.
“In the meantime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is requesting that the bereaved family members make contact with Mr Ross at the Guyana Consulate at 16 Gray Street, St Clair, Port of Spain, or on telephone number 868-622-2913,” the release stated.
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