A culture of patient abandonment continues to plague the country’s premier public health institution – the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
Guyana Standard has learnt that currently the situation has reached such dire proportions that some abandoned patients, who were admitted at the GPHC, are now being temporarily held at the West Demerara Regional Hospital. Many of the abandoned patients, several of whom are elders or individuals who are physically or mentally challenged, were admitted with conditions which suggest that they were neglected. These patients are usually treated and within a matter of days are well enough to be discharged.
However, sources at GPHC have revealed that when attempts are made to have the patients discharged, no relative is forthcoming.
According to information obtained by this publication, the GPHC has in excess of 10 abandoned patients who are taking up spaces in both male and female wards that can be better used by persons who are in need of health care.
Hospital sources have confirmed that many of the patients who are now abandoned were admitted under the guise of being vagrants who were rushed to the hospital by ‘Good Samaritans’. However, it has been found that many of these ‘Good Samaritans’ are in fact relatives who, instead of properly caring for their sick relatives at home, choose to abandon them at the hospital.
This publication was informed that some of these very individuals have been known to present themselves to uplift death certificates when these so called ‘vagrants’ die.
In its quest to arrest the protracted situation, Guyana Standard understands that the GPHC is planning to embark on a ‘name and shame’ campaign in hopes of forcing persons to accept their abandoned relatives back home.
This move comes even as the hospital desperately seeks alternative accommodation for a female patient who has been abandoned at the hospital for just over one year.
The mentally and physically challenged woman reportedly hails from Berbice and last resided with a sibling who decided to abandon her after taking her to seek medical care. The hospital, Guyana Standard has learnt, has been able to track down this sibling, as well as two others, all of whom have refused to accept the abandoned woman.
But the plight of the woman is likely to continue for a while longer as based on reports the hospital is having a difficult time finding alternative accommodation for the woman.
In the mean time this woman and the several other abandoned patients continue to run the risk of being exposed to many infections by virtue of them remaining hospitalised.