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Retired Judge leads Baby Simeon probe

By Sasha Harrinanan and Carol Matroo Wednesday, March 19 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Retired Justice of Appeal Mustapha Ibrahim, ...
Retired Justice of Appeal Mustapha Ibrahim, ...

Retired Justice of Appeal, Mustapha Ibrahim, will chair a three-person Independent Committee to investigate the death of baby Simeon Cottle, who died as a result of a cut to his head during his mother, Quelly Ann Cottle’s Caesarian section at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital on March 1.

Neonatologist and former Head of Neonatal Unit, Port-of-Spain General Hospital, Dr Petronella Manning-Alleyne, has also been selected to serve on the committee.

The third person is consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Melanie Clare Davies, who is affiliated with the University and College of London Hospitals and is also a registered member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Word of the committee’s members came from Attorney General (AG) Anand Ramlogan during the tea break in yesterday’s sitting of the Senate.

Noting that the persons identified were chosen because they are considered “pioneers in the fields of medicine, law and public health administration,” the AG said the delay was due to the need to identify and secure someone (Davies) from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists “who would command the kind of international respect, and bring to the table the international best practice that obtains in other countries”.

Ramlogan said the review “will not just focus on the specific incident but perhaps take a broader approach, as to what policies and procedures we need to improve upon to raise the level of care in the area of obstetrics and gynaecology.”

On the choice, of Manning-Alleyne, the sister of former prime minister Patrick Manning, Ramlogan hailed her for being outspoken about the quality of public health care.

“She was chosen, not just because of her expertise, but because of her willingness to speak out. You may recall when her brother was prime minister, Petronella Manning would be fondly remembered as someone who stood up, even then, and spoke out against the unacceptable level of health care under the PNM.”

Justice Ibrahim was chosen to help advise on the legal aspects of the case.

Since the baby’s death, specialist paediatrician Dr Javed Chinnia has been suspended from the women’s hospital pending the outcome of the independent investigation.

Previously Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan had announced he would be sourcing assistance for the investigation from abroad.

Since the baby’s death the blame game has been ongoing between the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, and the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA)

It is the practice of the women’s hospital that an experienced specialist registrar would conduct the C-section, but would have access to advice, and support and, if needed, intervention by a consultant.

The consultant, who is employed by UWI, was not present for this specific surgery. On Cottle’s request for an independent autopsy to be done, Khan said the family would have to liaise with the regional health authority on that matter.

Contacted yesterday, Cottle said she would like another doctor to go over the report of the first autopsy.

“I read where they said his lungs had collapsed. I want to know about that, I want somebody to explain how that happened,” she said.





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