A selfless and dedicated doctor, whose main objective was always to deliver quality health care to his patients, even at the risk of his own life, died on Saturday.
Dr Shival Sieunarine, now entering the prime of his life at 33, was described as a “humble soul who was kind and gentle.”
He died on Saturday morning at the Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope.
His death came hours after he was admitted with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and it is believed that a rapid deterioration of his condition led to his passing.
Sieunarine’s death came as the country faces a staggering surge of COVID-19 cases that has left the healthcare system on the brink of collapse.
The country recorded the highest number of daily new cases to date on Saturday since the pandemic began last year, at 402. A grave concern was the number of deaths recorded over a 24-hour period at seven—the second time this tally has been recorded since COVID hit our shores last year.
The doctor, a former Hillview College graduate, was previously employed by the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA)
Confirming that a young doctor did die hours after he was admitted to the EWMSC, North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) Chief Executive Officer Davlin Thomas extended condolences to Sieunarine’s family.
Other hospital sources close to the case claimed that when Sieunarine turned up at the hospital, “He came to us very sick.”
As news of Sieunarine’s death spread, friends took to social media to extend condolences to his family and also expressed shock over the sudden death.
Many claimed not to be aware that Sieunarine had been ill. However, some family members claimed he started experiencing viral symptoms earlier in the week.
Sieunarine operated a private practice in Tunapuna and was described as a “selfless and humble soul.”
A female patient remembered him as, “Someone who would do anything for anyone…a humble person who was never concerned about money.”
Another person on Facebook, who had gone to school with Sieunarine said, “Gosh…he was one of the kindest and gentlest persons I knew throughout my UWI days till now…”
When Sunday Guardian contacted NWRHA CEO Salisha Baksh, she said while Sieunarine had been a medical intern at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital at a point in time, “He was not employed at NWRHA at the time of his death.”
Uncertain as to who was his employer, she said, “I received unconfirmed information he was no longer employed in the public healthcare system.”
When the Sunday Guardian reached out to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh at 4.39 pm, his cell phone was answered by a woman who claimed he was on a conference call and promised to relay the messages to him. However, there was no response up to late last night.
Meanwhile, another Deyalsingh is shedding tears for this medical colleague and son who was taken too soon.
Dr Varma Deyalsingh commiserated, “We lost a colleague…RIP Dr Shival Sieunarine.”
Having graduated with the class of 2014, Deyalsingh recalled, “I knew him as a young doctor. I felt it for him and his family, the grief of his parents and loved ones. He had helped a lot of people in his short time. He will be missed by his friends and colleagues.”
The father of three cried, “I have shed tears for him and I am concerned for my medical son and all the young medical soldiers.”
Idi Stuart comments
Commenting on Sieunarine’s death, T&T Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) president Idi Stuart urged officials to ensure that extensive contact tracing procedures are carried out, as he would have interacted with both patients and other healthcare professionals during the course of the last week.
He said, “Patients in the ICU are already immuno-compromised and they would have to be tested…not to scare their families, but given the condition they are in, they would be vulnerable.”
Stuart claimed the TTRNA continued “to receive serious complaints almost on an hourly basis, where there are different policies in place at every RHA in terms of how they test and screen following a positive case within the facility.”
He said he intends to write the Ministry of Health tomorrow to request a joint meeting with all the RHAs this week, adding urgent clarification was needed so all frontline workers will have clear guidelines on how to operate moving forward.
Cop succumbs to COVID at hospital
Meanwhile, PC Anthony Nicholson died on May 7, after spending one week at the Couva-MultiTraining Health Facility until his death.
Nicholson started as a Special Reserve Officer at the Guard Unit in April 2003, before being drafted into the T&T Police Service (TTPS) where he continued his service in the same unit.