IN the wake of the death of Jodian Fearon, the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) yesterday suggested that all private health facilities put protocols in place for the isolation of patients who may present with COVID-19.
In a statement sent to the media yesterday the hospital, which has been taking some amount of flak for initially refusing to admit Fearon, said while it understands resources are stretched and it may be difficult to predict whether a patient is infected with the virus, “this area should have PPE [personal protective equipment] to resuscitate and stabilise suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases prior to transfer”.
Fearon, a first-time mom, died late Friday after a journey that saw her travelling across the Corporate Area and being denied access to health care.
Fearon, who was initially suspected to have COVID-19, tested negative for the infectious disease. She was eventually admitted at Spanish Town Hospital where her baby was delivered.
The circumstances surrounding her death are being investigated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Yesterday, the UHWI said it regretted Fearon’s passing and expressed “sincere condolence to her family and loved ones”.
The hospital said it would provide all information surrounding the matter to the ministry .
“The hospital wishes to express thanks to our team members and other doctors who went to the private hospital to assist with the patient, and to the UHWI front line staff who donned in full personal protective equipment on the morning of Friday, April 24, 2020 to accept the patient.
“We also wish to thank the intensive care unit team who received the patient on the evening of Friday, April 24, 2020 from the Spanish Town Hospital. The UHWI urges all private facilities and practices to put in place a protocol and an isolation area for patients that may have COVID-19, as it may be difficult to predict which patient may present to your facility with the virus,” the hospital said.
It said that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has provided guidelines that should be followed, and that the hospital stands ready to share its protocols and guidelines with private practices and institutions.
“We strongly recommend that facilities consult with the University Hospital prior to performing complex procedures that may result in blood loss and other complications which may require critical and advanced aftercare at UHWI during this global pandemic. This, as a result of resources being stretched since the hospital is managing a large number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. The hospital would also like to use the opportunity to ask the generous public to donate well-needed blood for these and other patients during this time. The UHWI front line staff remains ready, committed and available to assist all patients during this novel crisis,” UHWI said.
Just days before her due date, the young mother started to experience distress and reported to the privately owned and operated Andrews Memorial Hospital, where she had been registered to deliver her baby.
Fearon, according to her sister and housemate Shanice Lloyd, arrived at the hospital last Thursday and was being prepared for delivery.
However, she was transferred the following morning to Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine, after requests for transfers to UHWI and Kingston Public Hospital reportedly fell through.
It is alleged that the staff at Andrews Hospital refused to treat her.
The hospital has since denied this.
Following the delivery of her baby at Spanish Town, Fearon was later transferred to the UHWI after reportedly developing complications.
She died later that day.
The matter has sparked outrage, with thousands demanding justice for the young woman’s death.
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