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Family hires lawyer

By CAROL MATROO Tuesday, March 11 2014

The funeral has been postponed for the baby boy who died while his mother Quelly Ann Cottle had a Caesarian-section at Mt Hope Women’s Hospital on March 1.

Had the baby lived, he would have been named Simeon. Cottle was seven-months pregnant when she was scheduled for surgery to deliver the baby before he had reached full-term (nine months). During the procedure, the baby received a gash on the head, resulting in a brain laceration and he died.

Colin Selvon, attorney for Cottle and her husband Emil Millington, yesterday said the funeral for the baby was postponed as they await the final autopsy report which was due yesterday, but is expected to be ready today.

“We had a meeting with the NCRHA (North-Central Regional Health Authority) this morning. We have not received a formal report, so we are awaiting our own report,” Selvon told Newsday.

A doctor who recently qualified as a specialist obstetrician has been suspended and the absence of a consultant during the surgery is now under review.

Although Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said there was nothing untoward about the Caesarian-section done on Cottle, which resulted in the death of her baby, he back-tracked yesterday during a talk show, saying that “the consultant was at fault, the doctor was at fault, the system was at fault.”

He said there was need for proper assistance to look at techniques and whether the Medical Council should have given a specialist licence to someone who had just qualified with a specialist status.

A specialist is one who has just gotten their specialist qualification or spent four or five years thereafter, and must have a log book to show exactly how many surgeries were done, the type of surgeries, how difficult were the surgeries under supervision or solo, he said.

“I think if he had the required experience he would not have made such a mishap, but as a surgeon, I have a lot of experience and sometimes I go into a person’s body and you would find that it is very difficult compared to how it was before,” Khan said.

“We have to investigate, find out exactly what went on and then determine what to do after that. We will see litigation, a lot of lawyers knocking on the door of the couple and this is where we move forward in medical care,” he said.

The minister said there was a system in place that was not being followed, saying if there were complications or deaths, they must be reported and investigated.

Khan said the challenges facing the medical sector was total commitment by the people in the sector.

“In hospital we do have mishaps and adverse events and it’s our job to minimise those adverse events. We are putting standard operating procedures in place, however, there is just so much you can do. Service attitude is where people have to look,” Khan said.

Consultant gynaecologist Dr Jehan Ali was not in agreement with Khan saying the doctor was “just a phone call away”, in Tobago.

“I’m a phone call away in Canada. He is trying to say that the consultant did not have to be there, but that is not necessarily true,” Ali said yesterday.

Ali said while he did not have all the facts or the notes of the case, a senior doctor was supposed to be present. He suggested that the doctor may have used too much force to get to the foetus.

“When a baby is premature the womb does not develop properly and would have been thick and the doctor would have to cut deeper to get to the baby,” Ali said in a telephone interview from Canada.

“First of all you have to enter into the uterine cavity, then you have to get the baby out of the well developed part of the uterus. The doctor may have used excess force to cut through the uterus to reach the baby. Instead of making the incision transversely, he should do a vertical incision and it would be easier to get access to the baby,” he added.

Ali said having a special degree did not mean that a doctor is experienced since most exams were theoretical, not practical.

He said doctors who graduated from the Royal College in England were not totally recognised as a specialist until they went through four years of rotation in various disciplines. He also said at the Royal College it stated that a registrar and a consultant must be present during a high risk delivery.

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