Carol Joseph-Alexander

Sascha Wilson

Blaming gross negligence at the Point Fortin Area Hospital for the death of their mother Carol Joseph-Alexander, daughtersVearle and Candice Joseph wants justice.

Joseph-Alexander, 63, a retired TTPost worker, went to the hospital complaining about chest pains, but was discharged later that day.

Shortly after she walked out the casualty area, the sisters said their mother began vomiting.

Instead of receiving immediate care, they said she had to wait to go over the triage process.

While waiting for treatment, she slipped into a state of unconsciousness and died hours later. She died of a heart attack.

But, her daughters believe that had she been given proper care and treatment she would have been alive.

This is the second tragedy for the family in three months.

Last October, the Joseph sisters lost their father Vishnu Achaiba who also died from a heart attack at the same institution.

However, the sisters said their mother, a grandmother of five, did not suffer from any heart ailments.

She lived alone and was physically strong.

Just after 11 am on January 23 Joseph-Alexander began experiencing chest pains at her Buenos Ayres, Erin home and took a taxi to the hospital.

Vearle got to the hospital around 2 pm while Candice arrived after 3 pm. Candice said her mother told her she got a painkiller injection but the pain was getting worse. While she was there, a nurse gave her a tablet to put under her tongue.

Later that evening, she again spoke to her mother but through a window.

“She told me ‘these people discharging me and I still in pain.’ She was now complaining that her head was hurting,” said Candice

Sometime after 9 pm her mother walked out of casaulty, but she looked disoriented and weak. She asked to use the washroom and when Joseph-Alexander got to the van she wanted to vomit.

Candice, who ran back inside the hospital for a vomit bag, said, “That bag full up and I had to run back to get more. An attendant, I think it is a daily paid worker was assisting me.”

She said a nurse spoke to her in a hostile tone asking why her mother was still at the hospital, that she needed to go home to rest. They said their mother begged the nurse to take her blood pressure and bystanders also intervened and were asking the nurses to help her.

However, she claimed they were ignored. A nurse eventually told her mother that she had to go through the triage process again before she could see the doctor.

When the sisters complained, they were told that her paper work was already filed so she had to go over the process. The sisters said there were about four other patients at casualty.

“There was no urgency to help my mother despite her having all the symptoms of a heart attack, so while waiting on the triage process for over an hour , the shift eventually changed and it was at this point that my mother collapsed and became unresponsive and a wheelchair was brought to take her inside,” said Vearle.

The doctor told her that they stabilised her, but could not transfer her to the San Fernando General Hospital because the ambulance was not equipped in the event of an emergency.

Their worst fears were realised when the doctor told them she passed sometime after 3 am.

“She came in with severe chest pain. If you give someone morphine and it suppose to help with pain, and it not helping then you know something is wrong,” she said.

In a letter penned to medical director Dr Sylvan Pierre, Vearle lamented, “Dr. Pierre, my mother did not have to die like that. She was taunted and ridiculed by the nurse in charge. When people are sick, they need kindness. My mother begged that nurse not to send her home but she was unkind and heartless. I have to live the rest of my life without my mother. She was precious to me. She loved me and my sister. And what about the doctor, why did he discharge her? She came in with obvious symptoms of a heart attack, and you keep her for a few hours and send her home at 9pm?”

The hospital contacted the sisters on Sunday to acknowledge receipt of their letter.

Contacted for a comment, South West Regional Health Authority’s communication officer said they would issue a response soon.