Tragic end

Tragic end

Woman admitted to CRH made to sit on chair, falls, declared brain dead, dies

Senior staff reporter

Thursday, August 06, 2020

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FIFTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD retired teacher Novelette Cooper spent two days sitting in a chair at Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St James before she allegedly toppled over and hit her head.

Moments later, doctors at the problem-plagued hospital declared her brain dead. She died a few days later.

The Jamaica Observer contacted CRH Chief Executive Officer Charmaine Beckford who said, while she wasn't aware of the incident, an investigation will be launched to ascertain what occurred.

Cooper had been taken to the Type A facility in the western end of the island by family members last week Monday approximately 10:00 am after reportedly suffering an asthma attack.

She required treatment by nebuliser, her brother, Courtney Williams, told the Observer.

Doctors, he said, determined that she needed to be admitted for further assessment despite a shortage of beds, the man claimed.

As a result, he said, Cooper, who only returned to the island two years ago, having lived and worked in The Bahamas for years, was made to sit in a chair, where she remained until the time she fell and hit her head last Wednesday.

“She never leave that chair. The only thing change was her position, because after Monday evening when she was admitted her sister went to look for her on Tuesday and she was still sitting there, but in a corner with people not mentally stable,” Williams claimed.

He said Cooper's sister returned sometime on Wednesday, but was told that she could not go in to see her until she had spoken with the doctor.

Williams said shortly after the doctor informed the relative that Cooper was “very sick”.

“They said she fell off the chair, hit her head, and was brain dead. This happened the same Wednesday. So she went inside and she saw the big ol' coco on her forehead from when she drop off the chair and she was just there lying down,” Williams stated.

He said at that point hospital staff was observed manually pumping oxygen into Cooper who was reportedly unable to breathe on her own.

“They were saying that the ventilator wouldn't help at that point because she's gone past the ventilation stage, which I don't understand at all. They had this 'ball thing' that they were pumping,” he said.

Cooper died days later, on Sunday, approximately 6:30 pm.

The family was informed on Monday at 1:30 pm when they went to visit her, Williams told the Observer.

“It's just wicked. They are wicked. How can you have a patient sitting on a chair for days? They haven't said anything more to us; to anybody. We're just supposed to accept it. We're very upset right now. We are angry. The hospital is careless. This is very ridiculous. We need somebody to answer for this. We need this to look into, man,” Williams, who described Cooper as loving and sincere, fumed.

The Government has reportedly spent more $3.5 billion in rehabilitation at the facility since 2016.

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