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NCRHA head: Let’s get all the facts first

Friday, March 14 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Dr Shehenaz Mohammed...
Dr Shehenaz Mohammed...

CHAIRMAN of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) Dr Shehenaz Mohammed yesterday said she was “baffled” as to how persons could draw conclusions when they did not have all the facts, surrounding the death of baby Simeon.

The baby died after he suffered a cut on the head while his mother Quelly Ann Cottle, underwent a Caesarian section at Mt Hope Women’s Hospital on Carnival Saturday. A source from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, has claimed the baby bled to death after doctors made no attempt to stop the bleeding. Mohammed yesterday would neither confirm nor deny this claim.

Mohammed said the investigation and report that was produced by the Quality Department of the NCRHA was in keeping with the Health Ministry’s adverse events policy. “It is not a report that can deflect or identify negligence. It is a report that, based on what we have found, both the board and the minister deemed that an independent investigation was necessary,” she said.

Mohammed said this independent investigation would consist of a panel of experts in this particular speciality (obstetrician/gynaecology) and therefore any assessment should be left to the panel of experts to decide.

She said Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan and the panel would be privy to the patient’s notes which were with the office of the chief executive officer (of the NCRHA). “An investigation has to be conducted in a fair and transparent manner. I do not understand how anybody who is not the expert in the field and who therefore does not understand...would know about the statistics of adverse events in the speciality.

“You have to go back to medical jurisprudence and medical ethics. It is against natural justice and good industrial relations to draw conclusions,” Mohammed said. She added that drawing premature conclusions also harms the patient and her relatives.

“It is going to harm the mother and the sister for this conversation to continue without the facts and I find it dangerous. The ministry and the RHA have refrained from conclusions until the expert panel (investigates). We are doing our duty to the people of Trinidad and Tobago and our duty is to get a panel of experts to assess it,” she said.

Mohammed said she has asked for an investigation into the claim that officials wanted to incinerate the baby hours after he died because there was no room in the morgue to keep the body.

“I am not aware where the allegation would have started. If anything was said to the family, I request of them to please draw it to our attention, so we can direct our questioning to that person. I am not saying it’s not true. If the family can tell me where this came from then we can investigate along those lines. That cannot happen...that is against proper process in the hospital,” Mohammed said.

When contacted, the baby’s father Emil Millington, said while no one from the hospital spoke to him directly about this, his wife Cottle told him about the request (to have baby Simeon incinerated) when she called to tell him of the baby’s death.

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