Deaths of 3 leukemia patientsSix months have passed since three particular children died at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), but no sanction has been imposed on those culpable for their deaths, although two independent probes have been conducted, as well as one by the Guyana Medical Council (GMC).Seven-year-old Curwayne Edwards died on January 14, three-year-old Roshini Seegobin died on January 18, and six-year-old Sharezer Mendonca died on January 24.Chairman of the Guyana Medical Council, Dr. Navindranauth Rambarran, told Guyana Times during a telephone interview on Thursday that the matter at hand is of a serious nature, and therefore the process that is being followed cannot be rushed.“This process has to be fully exhausted, and we are following the process. This did not come to the Medical Council as soon as it was reported in the news; this had levels of investigations (done by) the Ministry (MoPH) and the institution (GPHC) itself. And it took some time for us to actually be brought into the investigation, into the phase where we would look at the matter,” he declared.He explained that although the Public Health Ministry and the GPHC had each conducted its own investigation into the deaths of those three children, the Guyana Medical Council is required to have its own investigation done.“The matter has been before us, I believe, (for) just a few months. We are looking at it, but the disciplinary process is not one that we can fast-track. We just cannot take the other things (investigations’ findings), because this is the body that registers the doctors; so we have to do our own work,” he clarified.Dr. Rambarran had in May confirmed that the Guyana Medical Council had concluded its probe into the deaths and the files had been sent to the Council’s Disciplinary Committee.“All I could say on the issue is that the issue is now engaging the Disciplinary Committee at the Medical Council. But the course of natural justice has to take its path, so I cannot comment on that further,” Dr Rambarran had said at that time.With regard to the doctors who, in the initial probe done by the hospital, had been found to be negligent of following protocol but are still on the job, Dr Rambarran had explained that it is not the role of the Guyana Medical Council to interfere in those operations; but rather, the Disciplinary Committee has to do its work.The GPHC had earlier this year found that the medical personnel did not follow the established protocol in administering drugs to these three children who died earlier this year.Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) of Guyana, Dr Karen Gordon-Campbell, had in March told the media that the doctors who had treated the now dead three leukaemia patients had incorrectly administered a certain drug.Instead of administering the drug vincristine intrathecally, they had done so intravenously; and this had led to the adverse reactions of those three children that ultimately resulted in their deaths.She explained that investigations revealed that protocols the medical practitioners should have followed would have stipulated which drug has to be administered “when and where”.“It wasn’t a question of dosage, but administration in terms of where it was administered. That was done incorrectly. The dosages would have been fine, but (the error occurred) in terms of where they administered what,” the Deputy CMO explained.She said the three medical personnel involved in the matters were aware that they had broken protocol, but not at the initial stage of administering the medical drugs to those patients.“The reasons that were given encompassed the fact that they were stretched and maybe not fully attentive at the time. That pretty much is the long-and-short of the reasons given, but I don’t think that initially they realised (that they were in error). But eventually, when they recognised that the patients were deteriorating, when they checked, they realised their mistake,” she explained.DeficienciesMeanwhile, Chairperson of the GPHC Board of Directors, Dr Kesaundra Alves, told the media that an internal investigation done by the hospital’s administration into the circumstances surrounding the treatment of the three leukaemia patients and their subsequent adverse reactions has revealed that human deficiencies and systemic challenges had contributed to the demise of those three children.“Statements were solicited from the parties directly or indirectly involved, and parties who were witnesses or otherwise privy to pertinent information that could assist with the investigation. The Director of Medical and Professional Services, Dr Jeffery, submitted his final report to the Chief Executive Officer on January 28, 2019. That report concluded that human deficiencies and systemic challenges contributed to the demise of the three children,” Dr Alves detailed.She said an independent investigation was also done by the Public Health Ministry and its findings were similar to those of the GPHC’s investigation: non-adherence to the hospital’s protocols had led to the three young children succumbing at the GPHC.Following this incident, parents and other activists began calling for suspension of the medical licences of those doctors responsible for the deaths of the three children.