Fort Wellington Hospital denies late octogenarian was beaten

20110501drivlaalexandersinclair-232x336The administration of the Fort Wellington Hospital is refuting claims that an octogenarian patient was beaten by nurses on June 25, and said she had fallen off the bed.

Acting Regional Health Officer, Dr Alexander Sinclair said the relatives’ claim in Kaieteur News that Julia Melville, 86, of Number 8 Village, West Coast Berbice was beaten in the head by two nurses was totally false.

According to him, “The only truth about the article is that the woman was a patient at the hospital. She was senile; she fell off the bed and the relatives are aware of it.”

Dr Sinclair said that contrary to the article, the woman was fully conscious when her children took her out of the hospital without being discharged.

He said he told them to wait until 4 pm but they insisted on taking her out during the midday visit.

A relative who wished not to be named told this reporter that the next day they took her to a doctor on the Corentyne and when she returned home she was feeling much better.

However, the following day Melville who was hypertensive fell ill again and she was taken to another private doctor in the area who advised them to take her to Georgetown Public Hospital.

A CT-scan was subsequently done and it was proven that she had hemorrhaged in the head which could have been caused by a burst blood vessel. She subsequently died.

The relative recalled that the woman was summoned to go to court the following day for a land matter involving her sister. She was apparently stressed out because of the court date and her blood pressure went up and they took her to the Fort Wellington Hospital.


Based on an investigation, the doctor said that around 10 pm Melville had refused to take her medication and covered her mouth. She also refused to have her vital signs taken.

The doctor said that the nurses tried to encourage her, but she refused to listen, wrapped a towel around her hand and started to scream.

Dr Sinclair said the doctor on call ordered that valium be administered but she again refused.

Around 11:15 pm the nurses observed her in a sitting position and advised her to “lay down because she can fall” and she did so quietly.

She got up again around 12:30 am but this time, she refused to listen. The nurses, with the help of a porter, had to restrain her by tying her hands to the bed with gauze.

All this time she again kept shouting and for the other staff to call the police.

She was also struggling to get her hands loose and shortly after, according to the doctor, the nurses untied her after observing some bruises.

Before that, the relatives had a problem with the nurses on the previous shift because the “IV line was dislodged” and caused bleeding.

The nurses continued to check Melville at intervals and up to 3.25 am she was resting comfortably.

Around 4 am when they checked again she was on the floor. She was apparently trying to get off the bed and fell.

She was very aggressive while they were picking her up and continued shouting and had to be restrained again.

Regional councillor Carol Joseph who looks into the interest of health care in the region, said “the article in the Kaieteur News was very disturbing.”

She said she could attest to the good care the nurses take with the patients and learnt that they tried their best with Melville.


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