Linden girl dies after suffering shortness of breath, fever
A six-year-old girl died during the wee hours of Wednesday after she was taken to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), suffering from respiratory problems.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was immediately suspected and tests would be conducted to determine if the child was infected with the disease. Up to press time, her cause of death was not determined.
Acting Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr Joseph London confirmed that the child died between 01:30h and 02:00h.
The young girl, who resided in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) was suffering from a mild fever along with shortness of breath and tummy pain upon admission.
According to a press release from the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), when the child was admitted to the Hospital on Tuesday evening, the paediatric team immediately conducted some x-rays and other tests after which it was recommended that she be transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital for a higher level of care.
It was disclosed that within 90 minutes of arrangements being made for the child to be transported, she died while in the Emergency Room.
“While we were waiting to transfer her, she was not maintaining oxygen over 70, which made her unstable for transfer. She was resuscitated to comfortable level and her condition continued to worsen resulting in her dying. Her condition was suspicious; however, we were unable to conduct a test on her,” Dr London told a meeting, which was held on Wednesday to discuss the situation.
The regional health authorities held the emergency meeting to address several issues, including its contingency plan to address the rapidly-growing COVID-19 incidence in Guyana.
The meeting was attended by Linden Mayor Waneka Arrindell as well as a team from the Public Health Ministry led by Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO), Dr Karen Gordon- Boyle.
Accompanying Dr Boyle were Dr Luella Sucie, an epidemiologist; Dr Tracey Bovell, an emergency medicine specialist and Bonita Lowenfield McDonald.
The DCMO informed the meeting that the test results may not be accurate, given that the child had already been placed in the morgue.
“It was important for the medical staff to have tested her within 24 hours after she would have died…taking into account that she [the child] may have already been taken to the morgue, where she is in the fridge, so I am not sure if the samples being taken off will yield a proper result,” she said.
Dr Gordon- Boyle explained that if the test results came back as negative, that did not mean that the child was not infected, given the circumstances.
“…even if it comes back negative, this can be because of the fact that the sample may have been compromised and not a case whereby she is negative,” she reasoned.
The RDC revealed that a surveillance team would be visiting the child’s family with a view to launching an investigation to evaluate and examine them for signs of COVID-19.
With one confirmed case in the region, the DCMO said authorities could not take any chances.
A 49-year-old man who was recently transferred from the Linden Hospital to the Georgetown Public Hospital, after displaying signs of respiratory illnesses, tested positive for COVID-19.
The man, who is visually impaired, recently accommodated several guests from overseas.
It is suspected that one of the visitors infected him. Persons who came into contact with him will be quarantined, Dr London said.
Moreover, Dr London noted that medical staff who tended to the man were wearing protective gear.
However, he revealed that prior to visiting the Linden Hospital, the man had visited at least two health centres in the town.
Authorities are investigating to determine if those attending nurses had used the required protective gear when they dealt with him.
Guyana, according to figures released on April 8, 2020, has 37 confirmed coronavirus cases, including six deaths.