Thursday 26 November, 2020

Woman's family sends legal letter to Minister, CMO for autopsy results

The son of a Rio Claro woman who collapsed and died outside her home has requested health officials release her medical records.

Attorneys representing Fazal Khan, the son of Rohanie Samdai Lal, wrote to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram seeking clarity on the continued detention of the woman’s body.

Khan is being represented by attorneys Lemuel Murphy, Joseph SD Sookoo and Jerry Boyer.

The woman, who lived alone, was a walk-in patient at the Rio Claro Health Facility on September 1. She visited the facility for a check-up as she was not feeling well.

A COVID-19 test was administered and she was instructed to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.

Just two days later, she was found dead outside under unknown circumstances.

The police were contacted and the woman was taken to the Rio Claro Health Facility where she was pronounced dead by the District Medical Officer (DMO).

The body was taken to the Mt Hope Mortuary for an autopsy to be performed.

According to the attorneys, since then, woman’s body has been kept in the custody of the State pending the outcome of the COVID-19 test – now in excess of 15 days.

Khan received his mother’s test result on Tuesday which revealed she was COVID-19 negative.

An identification and autopsy was scheduled for the following day, but a senior Medical Doctor determined that a second COVID-19 test should be taken due to the lapse in time between the first test and the time of death.

Khan must now await the results of this second test before a determination is made whether or not the body would be released.

The attorney said the family is now distressed because they follow the Islamic faith and under those rites the body should be buried as soon as possible.

Khan requested his mother’s medical records from the Mt. Hope Mortuary but he was denied as he was told that they were only in possession of a transfer form that was not disclosable.

The attorneys said this raises concerns about the validity of the decision by the doctor as it is “contrary to the Guidelines for Hospital Staff and Funeral Agencies in the Context of Covid-19 issued by the Ministry of Health”.

The attorneys have requested Lal’s medical records as well as all copies, and called for an autopsy to be conducted.

“We ask that you provide clarity on this issue to us in writing and further request that you preserve and forward to us copies of all medical records of the deceased.

We expect that a decision will be made by the State to conduct an autopsy on the deceased body pursuant to the Coroners Act, Chapter 6:04. Despite this, the estate of the deceased reserves the right to conduct an independent autopsy.”

They noted a similar concession was granted to the family of Sea Lots businessman Cedric “Burkie” Burke.

The attorneys stressed the urgency of the matter as they said the family is unable to “grieve in peace and bring closure to the passing of their loved one due to this continued detention of the body of their loved one”.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: