By Yvonne Webb
THE South-West Regional Health Authority has launched a probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of a patient at San Fernando General Hospital on Wednesday.
Allan Ragbir, 35, of West Battoo Boulevard in Marabella, reportedly died after he was forced to lie on the cold concrete floor of Ward 11. He died around 4.05 pm
Ragbir had been admitted to the ward on Tuesday, suffering with colic gastritis and seizure disorder, communications specialist of the SWRHA Nalini Parasram said yesterday.
“He was in a wheelchair because no beds were available at the time due to the chronic overcrowding.
“Because of his condition, he preferred to lie on the floor. The nurses made him as comfortable as possible until a bed was made available for him and that is where he died,” Parasram said.
However, there are conflicting reports over Ragbir’s death as one report said he had been placed on a bed only after he had collapsed in the corridor.
This was moments before he died.
Other patients and visitors to the hospital, who observed him writhing in pain, attributed his death to a blow he sustained to the head when in his weakened state he fell.
A post-mortem is expected to be conducted on Ragbir’s body today.
There are also reports suggesting that Ragbir’s cries for help were ignored.
One of Ragbir’s sisters, who did not want to disclose her name, said in a telephone interview yesterday: “I heard he had fallen. I was not there. I do not know what happened.”
One patient on Ward 11 said yesterday: “That boy was lying down on the bare corridor floor all night, crying out for help. They got a bed for him, but he died on Wednesday evening.”
Jason Chatoor, who was waiting with his mother Dolly, a heart patient who also spent three nights on a bench in the corridor, said he was present when Ragbir fell and hit his head.
“He (Ragbir) was so weak,” Chatoor said.
“What was so disheartening was that he wanted some water and an employee saw him pressing the cooler which was empty, but she never stopped to help him.”
Since Monday, patients admitted to the medical and maternity wards have been waiting in the corridors of the hospital for bed spaces to become available.
The Guardian reported exclusively yesterday the severe shortage of beds at the hospital. Several patients either had to sit on benches or lie on the ground.
However, the corridors were clear yesterday when the Guardian visited during the lunch hour.
Acting medical director of the hospital, Dr Anand Chattoorgoon, said when hospital officials made their rounds on Tuesday morning they saw Ragbir lying on the floor.
“When we asked why he was there, the nurses said he preferred to lie on the floor, rather than on a wheelchair, until he could get a bed.
“During the course of Wednesday morning they got him a bed. It hurts us to see patients on benches and chairs, because San Fernando General has no bed space. I feel like I want to cry myself.
Why somebody just doh shoot this mudder cont. Kill the focker Anand Chattergoon. Like a real fockin goon.
Anyhow this is Vision 2020 PNM style.
Drop dead on the mudder cont concrete floor.