By MIRANDA LA ROSE Tuesday, March 5 2013
THIS country and the Caribbean’s first set of sextuplets — three boys and three girls — were successfully delivered yesterday in a 40-minute Caesarean section by a team of 18 obstetricians led by Consultant Obstetrician Dr Bharat Bassaw at the Mount Hope Women’s Hospital.
The six babies were received by a 42-member neonatal/paediatric team of doctors and nurses.
“Today we delivered sextuplets, the first in the country and the first in the Caribbean region,” a proud chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) Dr Shehenaz Mohammed ann-
ounced yesterday at an impromptu press conference at the Women’s Hospital.
Also present were heads of all departments involved in the operation including NCRHA chief executive Dr Rodney Ramroop; Women’s Hospital medical chief-of-staff Mon-
signor Esau Joseph; medical chief-of-staff at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Dr Andy Bhagwandas; nurse-in-charge of the Maternity Operating Theatre Cathy Cadogan; anesthetist, Dr Dr Dana Ramdin; nursing administrator at the Women’s Hospital Sr Claudette Fraser Udika and Women’s Hospital Adm-
inistrator Anne Marie Eli. The paediatricians were not present as they were tending to the babies.
The operation started at ten o’clock in the morning with a medical team of 60 on standby and the sextuplets’ father and grandparents waiting outside the operating theatre. A tired-looking but elated Dr Bassaw later told Newsday, “the mother disclosed she wanted five children but her husband wanted six...which he got in one go.”
The identity of the parents were not disclosed as a matter of confidentiality, Mohammed said. “The mother has said that when she is ready she will speak.” The mother, Moh-
ammed noted has names for the babies, but did not divulge them. Ten minutes after the Caesarean section began, the first baby was delivered, Bassaw said. “We got all six babies out within three minutes...which was quite surprising to us as well. The actual Caesarean from the time we started to when we put the dressing back on the abdomen, took 40 minutes,” Bassaw said.
The cadre of neonatal staff included 18 paediatricians and midwives. Very shortly after the babies were born, they were rushed to the Neo-Natal Unit. At the time of the mid-afternoon press conference, Bassaw said, the mother was “fairly stable” but is still being kept in the recovery room in the theatre as a precaution.
“We will have to provide her with emotional support. From a physical standpoint we think she will be fine,” he said. The babies having been born between 30 to 31 weeks were “still critical” but stable. They weighed between one pound and nine ounces to just under three pounds. The smallest, a girl, was about one foot in length.
“The weights,” Bassaw said, “are very good in terms of what we had expected.” He expects the smallest to do very well as the decreased growth tends to make the smallest babies born in prematurity, “tougher”.
Gradually, if things go well, he said, “they will be weaned off. Then they will start feeding. They will just be on the drips and antibiotics to minimise infection. They have to be kept warm. We have to look out for jaundice. There are a number of issues we have to look out for.”
Mohammed noted that all of the babies were transferred to the neo-natal without incubation. However, they are all now on ventilatory support.
“We have to take precautions, one of them being risk of infections and only the mother and father will be allowed to visit them,” he said.
Asked whether there were adequate equipment and staff to deal with other patients, Mohammed revealed that there were two other Caesarean sections performed shortly after the births of the sextuplets and two other births by natural delivery.
In all, ten babies were delivered at the Women’s Hospital yesterday morning. She noted there were enough ventilators as the hospital has nine and six were used. The EWMSC also has some of its own. In addition, 12 ventilators are being sourced from Sweden.
Mohammed could not say when the six babies and their mother would be released from hospital. “Definitely they will not be out in a week or two, that I can tell you,” she said. Mohammed then thanked everyone involved in the, “First World delivery in a Third World country” adding there will be a full examination of the processes involved to create policy and protocol for best practice when there are high-risk patients.
Bassaw said there may be twins, “or even triplets”, among the sextuplets delivered yesterday.
“We think that one (set) might have been triplets or twins. We are looking at the placenta to decide whether it was a triplet or whether it was a twin. The others are singles,” he said.
(See Page 8A)