BRIAN LEZAMA v DR.KONG SHEIK ACHONG LOW HC 912/2008

10. Name of Case: Brian Lezama (Administrator of the estate of Karen Lezama)
v Dr. Kong Sheik Achong Low HC 912/ 2008

Type of Medical Negligence: Death of the Patient/ Childbirth
Date of Judgment:                      26th July, 2012
Judge Presiding:                          The Honourable Mr. Justice Ricky Rahim

CASE SUMMARY:medium
The Claimant, who is the Administrator of the Estate of Karen Lezama brought an action under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act of Trinidad and Tobago Chap 4:01 and the Compensation for Injuries Act Chap 8:05 for professional negligence arising out of the death of Karen Lezama.

The deceased, who was in late pregnancy, was a gestational diabetic and a known bleeder. On the 2nd April 2003, the deceased was admitted to Stanley’s Clinic and was diagnosed as being in “early labour.” Bed rest was ordered.
On 3rd April, 2003 the deceased was discharged from the Clinic. The deceased was re-admitted to the Clinic under the care of the Defendant on the 6th April, 2003 and a drip was administered to induce labour. The deceased died that said day allegedly from “shock due to postpartum hemorrhage.”

The Claimant alleged, among other things that  theDefendant failed to heed that the deceased was a “known bleeder,” failed to have a sufficient quantity of blood at hand, failed to administer sufficient medication to stop the bleeding and the Defendant also failed to take immediate steps to stop the haemorrhage. Additionally, according to the Claimant, the Defendant failed to exercise due care and diligence in the treatment of the deceased.

HELD:Ics-codablock-blood-bag_sample
The Court accepts that as bleeding was not anticipated prior to delivery, it was not expected that there be blood on hand. Therefore it was not unreasonable or negligent that there was no blood on hand.
However, more blood and blood products ought to have been given upon recognizing that there was a need for such. On this basis, the Court finds that the Defendant was negligent by “failing to take urgent and immediate or any reasonable steps to stop the hemorrhage once it had started.” Furthermore the Defendant was negligent by “failing to administer sufficient medication to stop the bleeding.” The Defendant was also negligent by “failing to exercise all due care and diligence in the treatment of the deceased in all the circumstances of the case.”
The Court opined that it is more likely than not that the omission to administer more blood and blood products in a timely fashion resulted in the death of the Deceased from postpartum hemorrhaging.

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