Woman’s death prompts call for closer inspection of health care system in SVG
The sister of a 54-year-old woman who died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital last month has called for closer inspection of the health care system in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Reports are that Rhonda Huggins died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) in Kingstown on October 30 as a result of a blood clot that travelled to her heart.
According to Huggins’ sister, Peggy Marks, who was speaking on the OMG morning show on BOOM FM on November 5, her sister’s death comes six days after she was admitted to have surgery for a broken foot.
Marks said her sister’s leg was broken at the ankle and needed surgical intervention to have one screw to put back the piece of bone that had slipped away.
“Somebody needs to look into the health system. I do not want this thing to happen to nobody else,” Marks said. “It’s hurtful to see a broken foot… If she was sick with something else, I would’ve accepted it because we can’t fly in the face of God. But a simple break foot you leave there to create a blood clot and travel all these days to my sister heart and kill her?”
Marks, who lives in Bequia, said that doctors kept putting off the surgery without giving an explanation.
The Bequia resident also said that she received a call from Huggins on the Saturday following her admission to the hospital to say that one of the nurses came and “put a drips on me”.
She also said that her sister talked about the IV fluid making her “feel funny”.
“While she is speaking to me, the short winds started hitting her. She was getting shortness of breath. I turned to her and I said, ‘did you tell the doctor and the nurses what are happening to you? She turn to me like this and said ‘I told them and they did nothing’,” Marks said.
She said that she told her sister to try drinking lots of water to flush it out of her system.
She further said that Huggins called her again to say that she has overheard nurses asking why the specific IV fluid was given to her (Huggins).
But Marks declared that it was hurtful for her to think that Huggins told doctors and nurses about what was happening with her and have them do nothing.
“Hear what my question is for any doctor or nurses who are listening to me this morning; If I am your patient and you know by putting off a surgery, it can create a clot and an infection, what do you think that that doctor and nurses should have done? Not to give her the treatment to prevent the clots?” she questioned.
Marks also said that she felt the IV fluid might have contributed to her sister’s death. But the autopsy did not indicate whether this was so.
The Bequia resident added that an x-ray on Huggins’ heart and blood tests were carried out to ensure that her sister was fit for surgery. And the results showed that she had no sickness or anything to hinder the process.
“I don’t want this to happen to nobody else again. Somebody need to speak up and my sister cannot speak up and I will be her voice,” Marks said. “It’s too much of coverup happening at that Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. I’m not running down the nurses, I’m not running down the hospital but when things are wrong, we need to make a stand.”
Marks insisted that she shouldn’t have lost her sister as a result of a broken foot.
She added that doctors told a family member that Huggins’ injury was not “so serious so they were taking care of the rest of the patients that were serious.”
“It was not serious…but she died and when you have somebody complain to you and let you know what was happening and you do nothing to help them, what do you call that? that aint murder? I told them that down at the hospital,” the grieving woman said on radio.
Marks went on to say that her 54-year-old sister was “ my right hand. She was my everything and I lose a sister just like that”.
SEARCHLIGHT was informed by a relative that lawyer, Louise Mitchell has been advising the family. However, Mitchell declined to comment on the issue and whether the family intended to take legal action.
When contacted by SEARCHLIGHT, Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, the chief medical officer said that she could not comment on the issue because of patient confidentiality.
“The office of the chief medical officer has not received an official complaint and…because of patient confidentiality consideration, I am not at liberty to discuss the case,” Keizer-Beache said. Huggins was buried on November 8 in Bequia.