Family members of Lorenzo Baptiste, a man who died from COVID-19 on Monday, March 22, is upset about his passing being posted on social media before they were officially informed by health authorities.
The family also has several other grievances including no one being allowed to accompany Lorenzo to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) despite him being mentally and physically challenged and that the person who accompanied Lorenzo to the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre in Georgetown used public transport to return home.
They are also upset that it took three days after Lorenzo tested positive for family members to be tested.
On Monday, March 22, 2021, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in a release said in part that “the man tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday March 19 after presenting to the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre, Accident and Emergency department with shortness of breath and decreased appetite.
“The young man was transferred to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and died this morning at 5:45 am from COVID pneumonia”.
He is the tenth Covid-19 related death.
A close friend of the family, speaking on their behalf, told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday that a friend of Lorenzo’s mother is the one who informed the family that he died and the official call came after the details were posted on social media.
“Before they called, it was already on social media. His mom said when she went to the hospital in Georgetown, she gave them her number and they should have recorded it.
“That was not supposed to happen,” the family friend said of the social media posting before the official call to the family.
Explaining further, the family friend said Lorenzo was mentally challenged and not able to help himself, having suffered from epilepsy from about one year old.
On Friday March 19, Lorenzo was taken to the Owia Health Centre where health personnel told family members that he seemed to be suffering from pneumonia and some sort of lung issue. He was tested for COVID-19 but the result was negative.
Because of the pneumonia and lung issue, he was transported to the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre, Accident and Emergency Department (AE&D) at Georgetown by ambulance and while there, was retested for COVID-19 and found to be positive.
The family friend said when Lorenzo tested positive, his mom asked why she was not being tested and was told, “that is not their responsibility or something along that line.”
Lorenzo’s mom was sent home and allegedly, had to take public transportation from Georgetown to Sandy Bay, then from Sandy Bay to her home at Owia. Lorenzo was taken to Kingstown via ambulance where he later died.
“He cannot help himself. He can’t talk, he don’t know what is going. He was weak, his mom wanted to go with himto deal with him, because she thought they won’t have the patience to deal with Lorenzo because of the state he was in.
“They didn’t allow any of us to go, probably because he was positive, but that is very upsetting to his mom,” the family friend said.
The man also explained that Lorenzo’s household comprises nine persons and they operate a shop, so it was strange that health authorities waited until Monday to test relatives.
He however noted that none of the nine family members are “feeling” symptoms of COVID-19.
“There is a shop in the yard…everybody has to wear a mask to come in but I don’t know… they should have come as soon as possible.
“The situation is really hurting knowing he can’t help himself and his mom was denied going with him. They denied her the test also and she had to take public transportation. This is a burning issue for us,” the friend said.
Lorenzo is the tenth person to die from COVID-19 in SVG which up to press time had registered 1700 cases since March 2020.
NEMO is urging the public to consistently use properly fitting masks, sanitize, physically distance and get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID-19.