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Baby Simeon’s mom optimistic about probe

Monday, April 28 2014

Cautiously optimistic best describes how Quelly-Ann Cottle feels about an on-going probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of her baby boy, Simeon Millington, five hours after he was delivered by Cesarian section (C- section) at Mt Hope Maternity Hospital on March 1, 2014.

The baby suffered a laceration to the head while being delivered, and as an autopsy later revealed, he then bled to death.

“The committee interviewed me last Thursday, for about two hours. They wanted to know what happened, asked about my medical history. I have a little hope now that justice will be done for my baby but I’m very cautious because while other people think the medical staff was to blame, the investigators may not find they did anything wrong,” Cottle told Newsday.

The committee is comprised of Dr Petronella Manning-Alleyne, neonatologist and former head of the Neonatal Unit at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, retired Appeal Court judge Mustapha Ibrahim and consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist of the University College of London Hospitals, Dr Melanie Clare Davies, who arrived in Trinidad last Wednesday evening.

Asked if the three-person committee plans to interview her husband, Emil Millington, Cottle said “they told me they have a lot of interviews lined up but they didn’t say whether or not my husband was on the list.”

Newsday also spoke with Manning-Alleyne yesterday. She declined to say how the investigation was coming along but did confirm the committee “started interviews on Thursday (April 24). We’re in the middle of the investigation, so I can’t say anything further at this time.”

The committee was presented to the public last Friday by Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan, during a press conference at Cabildo Chambers, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain.

That’s also when the AG announced he was considering establishing a Medical Complaints Council where patients and their families would be able to have their concerns addressed.

Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan yesterday said he supported the establishment of a council, adding that it was preferable to aggrieved individuals going to court with lawsuits for alleged medical negligence.

“The majority of claims — because of the length of time it takes — are settled (out of court), no matter what,” related Khan.

“If you have a Medical Complaints Council, both sides will be treated fairly, because the majority of problems can’t be considered to be medical negligence.”

Such a Council would result in fewer lawsuits and less lawyer fees.

“Everyone shouts ‘medical negligence’, but it is a defined term in a court of law that has its own definition and it is hard to prove it,” said Khan. “For a doctor to be able to do his job properly he needs the proper equipment, infrastructure, tools and system, and that is where the State has a lot of liability. The doctor can say he was in the middle of an operation but there was no CT scan nor MRI available and that it is therefore not his fault and he did the best he could. But with the Medical Complaints Council, these things will settle more easily.”

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