The late Beryl Junior

Members of a family are mourning the death of their mother, 56-year-old Beryl Junior, whom they believe contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while she was admitted to Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine.

They further opined that their 94-year-old maternal grandmother, Lucilda Bair, also got the virus at the said medical facility, where she remains admitted.

The siblings accused hospital staff of exposing their two relatives to COVID-19 patients while they waited days for the results of COVID-19 tests administered during hospitalization.

The mother and daughter went into the medical facility with results showing that, based on tests done by a private doctor less than a week earlier, they did not have the virus.

The siblings further said they were informed that, based on the outcome of the hospital’s initial test, their mother did not have COVID-19.

“When they found out that she was negative [based on their own test]; that’s the time she got a bed and they put her in a room by herself… They had her around COVID patients for about four days [while they waited on the result of the test they did the same day our mother was brought to the hospital on September 6],” said Stacey-Ann Lynch, one of the bereaved siblings.

The siblings were shocked when they, while being informed of their mother’s death, were also told – for the first time – that she had COVID-19 and died of it on September 12.

Devon Junior, better known as ‘Banton’, a son of the deceased, said: “We feel real bad because we weren’t expecting this. My mother went in the hospital for chest infection and asthma. She get tested [for COVID-19] and she was negative, and now she is COVID positive. It is really shocking to me.”

Lynch commented: “I feel real cut up about it; my mom passed off because of their negligence… She was on a wheelchair for four days [while she waited on the COVID-19 test results], and they put her near COVID patients. They later put her in a room by herself, and a day later they bring a COVID patient there – telling us they had to share the oxygen. Then our mother’s oxygen level went back way down.”

Lynch further stated that, based on her observation, the hospital’s staff generally treated her mother and a number of other patients poorly.

That’s because it appears some patients are presumed to be COVID-19 positive even while they await the hospital’s test results, Lynch told The Beacon. She urged the authorities to create more space to properly separate patients, adding that the separation could be done in the interim on the basis of rapid testing.

“They need to build another room and separate the people properly and do a rapid test or something to know how the separation should take place,” Lynch further said.

She, in the meantime, explained that her grandmother ended up in Spanish Town Hospital two days after her mom.

The mother – now deceased – was her elderly mother’s main caregiver.

Lynch said: “My grandmother blocked out on me [while my mother was in hospital]. I didn’t know what was happening, and so I bring her to her [private] doctor and he told us to rush her to the hospital. When we went to the hospital, they told us that her sugar was low and that is what knocked her out. She didn’t have any COVID [based on a test done privately less than a week earlier].”

The hospital did a COVID-19 test on the grandmother a day after she was brought to the medical facility, Lynch said.

She further claimed that, while her grandmother waited in hospital days for the test result, she – like her late daughter – ended up in contact with COVID-19 patients.

Lynch said her grandmother was placed on oxygen, and has improved significantly.

“They took the oxygen off her now. She is up and running again, but they said they have to keep her [at the hospital] because they are seeing pneumonia on her chest,” Lynch added.

The siblings, who are all from Top Hill district in the Lluidas Vale area of St. Catherine, said they are yet to inform their grandmother about the death of her daughter – their mother.

“My [late] mother was loving, kind – I can’t even explain. She was easy to get along with and she always tried to help others,” Junior said.

The siblings, in the meantime, dismiss rumors that their entire household in Top Hill had COVID-19.

“Everybody in the house had flu,” Lynch clarified. “We didn’t know [what was happening] and so we paid $8000 each to do the COVID test and everybody’s result came back negative.” Lynch insisted that both her mother and grandmother were taken to hospital for other medical issues – not for COVID-19.


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