Patient reportedly beaten to death, another burnt
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Dead: Rohan Suntgalum 
Dead: Rohan Suntgalum 

— amid ruckus at Psychiatric Hospital two weeks ago

AN argument at the National Psychiatric Hospital (NPH) some two weeks ago reportedly resulted in a ruckus and the subsequent beating to death of a man, who was admitted to the facility after experiencing symptoms of epilepsy.
According to information shared with the Guyana Chronicle, Rohan Suntgalum, 41, of Canefield Canje, was reportedly beaten by two patients of the hospital, two days after he was admitted to the facility. Another patient, Steve Roberts, was reportedly bound, beaten and burnt to the knees during the incident.
One of Suntgalum’s siblings, Sandiya Suntgalum, told the Guyana Chronicle that her brother was taken to the hospital on May 21, 2021, after he displayed symptoms of epilepsy and subsequently cut his foot after venturing out into the yard.
“Friday, when we reach the hospital, them treat the cut on he foot and by he memory gone and he nah know nobody, them say them gun send he to mental and then we went over and the nurse them say don’t worry we gun keep he safe, that he gun be safe there… so we left he there and come home, we didn’t think anything would a happen cause he does go there for treatment sometimes,” Sandiya said.

The distraught woman said that two days later, when the incident occurred, they did not hear from the mental facility, but from a friend, who said that Rohan had been admitted to the New Amsterdam Hospital. But upon arrival at the hospital they were told that Rohan died.
Sandiya claimed that she went into the room and saw her brother lying on a bed, and covered with a blood-stained sheet.
She said that after a closer examination of the body, she saw a gash to the back of his head and blood oozing from his ears.
When Sandiya enquired about what had happened to her brother, she was reportedly told that he was hitting himself repeatedly to the head with an iron bar. Not being satisfied with the explanation, the woman said she reported the matter to the police.
Meanwhile, Roberts’ grandmother Amina Haniff, said that Steve related to her that his hands were tied behind his back, and he was burnt to his knees.
Regional Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Six, David Armogan, when asked about the purported incident, said that the patients were involved in an argument that turned violent and resulted in Suntgalum’s death.

“What happened on that particular day, I understand, is that one of them pulled out a window or something and it had some grille or mesh on it, and he hit the other one with it so hard that the rest of them stand up laughing… unfortunately, there was just one nurse in the ward and that person had to run for her life,” Armogan said.
He added that the incident was unfortunate, noting that the regional administration will consider the possibility of stationing guards at the ward to help restrain the patients if the need arises, or help to protect the other patients and medical staff. Director of Health Services in Region Six, Dr. Vishalya Sharma, said that her office has been in constant contact with the victims’ relatives and has even asked them to meet with the team to get a better understanding of the situation.
Dr. Sharma lamented that despite the efforts of the health team at the psychiatric hospital to keep harmful items away from the patients, they have been making use of things such as the metal grilles, windows, tooth brushes that are sharpened, and even removing the ceramic tiles from the floors and walls, to be used as weapons to harm each other.
Sharma, like Armogan, agrees that more human resources are needed for the safety of the staff and other patients, even though the police are expected to conduct routine inspections of the facility. An investigation into the incident has since been launched.

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