‘WHY DID MY BABY DIE?
By CAROL MATROO Saturday, March 8 2014
A doctor at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital, Mt Hope, who performed a Caesarian-section during which a seven-month-old male foetus received a cut on the head, resulting in his death, has been suspended with basic pay ($25,000 to $30,000).
The doctor, who had only just recently received a specialist obstetrician licence, performed the surgery without a senior doctor, a consultant, to supervise.
According to sources, the consultant, who was supposed to be on call, was not present. They claimed the senior doctor is hardly ever at work. The source alleged that the consultant, also a lecturer employed by the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, had a bad history with providing clinical service to the hospital.
“The consultant was not around during the high risk delivery. Some of the hospital staff are wondering whether UWI would take similar action against the consultant who was supposed to be on call that day. This has been a problem with lecturers from the university for years who expect to come in and expect offices and use of the facilities,” the source said.
The consultant will have to be questioned by UWI and not by the NCRHA. Earlier yesterday, Director of Health Dr Rodney Ramroop made the decision to halt all of the obstetrician’s operations at the hospital. However, after a meeting later in the day, the board of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) gave orders that the obstetrician be suspended pending the outcome of an investigation, and a final report prepared and reviewed by the Board of Directors, NCRHA, and Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan.
This also meant that the doctor will have absolutely no access to the hospital or anything therein. This was confirmed by NCRHA chairman Dr Shehenaz Mohammed, yesterday, who said the board “went by the book” in issuing the suspension.
The doctor has been instructed to cooperate fully with the investigative team.
The board has instructed that a comprehensive and independent investigation be initiated into the circumstances surrounding the death of the foetus on Carnival Saturday, March 1.
The mother, Quelly Ann Cottle, 38, who was hypertensive, had gone to the hospital to have a C- section done after it was discovered that the foetus was not receiving adequate oxygen through the umbilical cord.
Her worst nightmare came through when the foetus was announced dead. Father Emil Millington has since called for a full investigation into the death of his son.
A preliminary review of the autopsy has shown there were:
* Laceration to right parietal lobe of brain * Penetrating injury to right parietal bone * Iatrogenic laceration to scalp * Severe prematurity During a CNC3 News interview, last night, Cottle said after she heard the cry of her baby a few minutes after birth, she questioned, “why did I have a dead baby? “I would like to see no other mother has to go through this. Nobody should have to go to a hospital, expecting to come back out with that second person, and come back out with nothing,” the distraught mother said.
Mohammed said they were ensuring the investigation was correct and that “actual justice was not denied”, which meant the investigation had to be complete.
Mohammed was referring to the case of the death of young mother Chrystal Boodoo- Ramsoomair who died at the San Fernando General Hospital after a C-section with her third child in 2011. Hers was a case of a house doctor performing the procedure without a consultant present.
She said in Boodoo-Ramsoomair’s case there were “a lot of procedural errors in the investigation” which went against good industrial relations and natural justice.
“There were two issues, the death of a mother and the industrial relations issue. The union had to deal with the industrial relation issue. It did not mean that we were insensitive to the fact that a mother died. That was an issue that MPATT had agreed we would be investigating, and we agreed to work with the authority to ensure that the standard of the authority was kept and justice was served,” she said.
In that case, an independent investigation found the hospital had failed to ensure all procedures were followed in the care of Boodoo-Ramsoomair. The hospital accepted fully responsibility for her death. however, her husband Lorne has since taken legal action in the High Court and in the Magistrates Court against the doctors who attended to her. At the time Mohammed was secretary of MPATT—the Medical Professionals Association of TT.
A release from MPATT, which extended its condolences to the bereaved family in the case of the seven-month-old foetus, yesterday said it was in full support of any investigation provided that it was conducted in a manner that adhered to all proper procedures, protocols and principles that served all affected parties.
Minister Khan yesterday said there were several questions to be answered before the investigation was completed, such as why the consultant was not there, the experience of the obstetrician, reports from the nurses and whether there were conflicting notes.
“Rest assured that there will be a full investigation and whoever is found at fault will be held accountable,” the minister said.
Mohammed said both the victims and the doctor involved have been offered counselling as the RHA was trying to treat both fairly, seeing as it was a traumatic time for both parties.