Neglected child, rescued from brink of death, survives


NEGLECTED by her parents, Sunita Sooku was admitted to New Amsterdam Hospital in a grossly malnourished state.
In addition, the nine-year-old was also suffering from tuberculosis and,  unknowingly, from a fractured hip. Medical practitioners said she was on the brink of death. But, now, nine months later, the pre-teen’s health has improved tremendously and she does not want to go back home.

The Guyana Chronicle interviewed her during an invited visit to the Paediatric Ward in Berbice Regional Hospital, on Monday, when the occasion was to celebrate with Faith Feona Adams.
Adams, known as ‘Queenie’, was abandoned at birth by her substance abusing  mother but has survived for 12 months and Sunita was a guest at the celebration.
The latter, with only minutes to live, was rushed to the health institution by a relative who could not bear to see her suffer any longer.
Social Worker Winifred Joseph related that Sunita, who hails from Hamshire, Corentyne, arrived in the worst stage of malnutrition and had tuberculosis but it was later discovered that she also had a fractured  hip.
Joseph said, if the girl had been hospitalised moments later, she would not have been a survivor.
When she was admitted on December 30, 2009,  the patient was treated for the malnutrition and, subsequently, tuberculosis. In her condition at the time, she was unable to walk, as she was weak and her feet could not support her frail body.
However, as her health improved, it was observed that her feet needed attention and an x-ray revealed that she had sustained a fracture in the pelvis region.
Joseph said Sunita was admitted but, because the focus was on treating her for the other deficiencies, the fracture was not readily detected and, even if it was, nothing could have been done as she was in a weak state.
She said after the patient showed significant improvement, she was transferred to  Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) where she underwent surgery and is, currently, wearing a cast to aid in her recovery.
Joseph said, since her hospitalisation in the Paediatric Ward,  Sunita’s relatives never visited her, probably for fear of being arrested by Police.
Sunita, who once lived in a shabby house with her three siblings, had been a victim of neglect by her father, while her mother’s whereabouts are unknown and is presumed dead by her family.
Joseph explained that neglecting children included them being not loved, underfed and inadequately clothed but is not as high profile as other forms of abuse, though it is one of the most common ways in which they are mistreated.
Probation and Child Protection Officer, Ms. Rosita De Castro exhorted persons to be  watchful and alert to what is happening in their community.
“If you know there are neglected children in your community or if you are not seeing your neighbour’s child and have not received an explanation for the absence, you should make a report to the Child Protection Agency, a Police station or a medical professional. You can save a life,” she appealed.
In relation to Sunita, De Castra said, when she was taken to the hospital, she was on her last. “We are grateful for that relative who moved just in time.”
An individual who witnessed the child’s initial state, but prefers anonymity, declared:  “Over my dead body would she be returned to her home.”
Sunita herself said: “I am happy here. I don’t want to go back home.”