The father of Selena Thomas, who died on Monday at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), succumbed on Wednesday afternoon, having been hospitalised for suspected poisoning.
Edward Richards’ condition worsened on Tuesday and as a result, he had to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. He died on Wednesday. The 76-year-old of Wakapao, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), has four other family members who remain hospitalised at the GPHC. The entire family fell ill after reportedly consuming cassava, which they reaped from their farm.
Meanwhile, a post-mortem examination performed on Thomas on Wednesday was inconclusive and samples were taken to be sent overseas for further testing. A relative of the family told Guyana Times on Wednesday afternoon that the other family members are being treated for cyanide poisoning.
The relative expressed frustration over the mystery illness which has left two of her family members dead without answers as to what really could have caused their demise. “I am devastated right now. I don’t know what to think or say. Just like that, they died. It could have been anybody. We all eat cassava bread all the time. Why now or how? I just can’t find answers. I hope the doctors find what it is soon because I am so scared because the others are still hospitalised,” she told this publication.
The disastrous ordeal started last week after Selena Thomas baked some eight cakes of cassava bread which she and her household consumed and shared with family. “She baked about eight cakes of cassava bread and that’s what they were using all the time. And when family come over they would share and so… this was the norm but they didn’t imagine something was wrong with it or anything like that,” a relative said.
The relative explained that soon after eating the cassava, which they reaped from their farm, they complained of stomach pains then started to vomit.
“They were fine. But they ate cassava which they get from their farm. They prepared it as a meal and then they started to vomit and they were getting bad pains to their stomach. It was the only thing all of them eat the morning,” the distraught woman related.
The relative added that they reportedly fed the same food to two of their dogs – both of which later died. It is suspected that their farm had been contaminated with an illicit substance.