Sibratee Boodram in better days

When Sibratee Boodram walked into the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) last September, the 63-year-old Penal mother of four was strong and able to care for herself and her family.

Now four months after a failed surgery to excise a pituitary adenoma—slow-growing tumour—she cannot walk and falls unconscious regularly.

Doctors have scheduled surgeries to remove the brain tumour four times but cancelled each time.

“I am pleading. Somebody, please save my wife,” Chabindranand Boodram told Guardian Media outside the San Fernando General Hospital yesterday.

After her condition worsened on Monday night, Boodram’s family is worried that she will not survive as they said doctors keep postponing her surgery. Chabindranand said doctors at a private hospital told him that if Boodram does not undergo surgery soon, she could die.

Chabindranand, a former Petrotrin estate police officer, said it was the first time he used the public health system in decades as he and his family used the Augustus Long Hospital. He said his wife of 42 years had other procedures done successfully there, but now that Petrotrin is closed, he has no option but to use the SFGH.

He said the surgery and post-operative care at the private hospital cost over $450,000, which he does not have, especially having already spent thousands of dollars on laboratory tests.

Chabindranand explained that on September 8, 2020, he and his wife visited an optician to get glasses. During that visit, Boodram complained about double vision, so they went to a specialist doctor. That doctor referred Boodram to the SFGH, concerned that she might be having a stroke. However, doctors investigated and found the tumour in the pituitary gland, which caused pressure to her blood vessel, resulting in her impaired vision.

“They concluded then, that it was an emergency because she would have lost her eye. They kept her for 20 days on the ward. They did the surgery 20 days after and they returned to tell me that the surgery was unsuccessful because the tool they used to go through the nasal pathway could not break the tumour. It was too tough, and they would have to do it over,” Chabindranand said.

Between then and October 22 he said they attempted to do the surgery three times.

“Every time the date came, they postponed the surgery, saying that they had more urgent surgery and they could only do one surgery per week because of COVID-19. To this day, my wife has not received that surgery.”

Since then, Boodram had several stays at the hospital, and Chabindranand said after each time, she returns home weaker than before.

“She is at a point now where she is probably on her last days.”

Chabindranand said he reported his issues to the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) complaints desk and wrote to the Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, but without success.

He said the last excuse he got from the hospital was that the surgeons need equipment, which the State has to purchase.