Minister Wong clarifies death at Port Moresby General Hospital

Thursday 1 September 2021 

Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS,  Jelta Wong, has clarified  circumstances surrounding the  recent death of a child  at the Port Moresby General Hospital. 

 From  his briefing with the hospital’s management, Mr Wong, said a death certificate was not  issued because the cause of the death was not  established,  which forms part of the coronal inquest. 

“This is one of the key aspects of the inquest, and Coroner will authorise a post mortem prior to issuing a death certificate and warrant of burial. 

 This coronial inquest has now begun, and the Coroner will authorise the necessary post-mortem in the coming days.  

There was an unfortunate delay due to discussions with the family regarding the necessary process. These issues have now been resolved, and the inquest has begun. In conjunction with this inquest, I have sanctioned terms of reference and tasked the National Department of Health, to perform an independent investigation of the deaths and audit Port Moresby General Hospital.  

This investigation will review many aspects of the hospital including, other recent similar deaths, clinical governance, and review of the pharmacopeia of Propofol. 

 Once the investigation has been completed, I will report on the outcomes of the investigation. It is critical that the investigation is not hampered by outside influence and allowed to run its course so we can ensure the impartiality and factual information is made known, so that an amicable solution can be reached between all parties.  

With that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to request that politicians, including the Opposition Leader, Hon. Beldan Namah refrain from further commenting on this tragic case at this time. The established process is underway to thoroughly examine the circumstances. 

 However, it is not fair to the family that this young man’s death is politicised or put under further media scrutiny.  

It is a time for them to grieve whilst the hospital and the Government investigate what has occurred to ensure it does not happen again. It is not acceptable that the family’s trauma is exacerbated and used for political point-scoring by the Opposition Leader.  

Further, it is particularly unhelpful of the Leader of the Opposition to blame persons prior to this investigation being concluded. He is prejudging an investigation, and his comments may well undermine the investigation and prejudice any future legal proceedings that may need to be instigated following the investigation. I would like everyone to keep the family in their prayers. God bless 

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