A Clear Case Of Medical Negligence
A premature baby boy has lost his left arm due to alleged negligence at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the San Fernando General Hospital.
The two-month old baby, who is battling a fungal infection at the hospital, underwent emergency surgery yesterday to remove the arm from the shoulder.
The procedure was necessary as the childâ€™s vein was ruptured while being administered intravenous fluid, causing the soft tissues in his arm to die, his relatives were told.
The babyâ€™s teenage mother was not satisfied with the treatment he received at the hospital and has demanded a thorough investigation.
The Express is unable to identify the childâ€™s 16-year-old mother, as the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy were the subject of a police criminal investigation regarding who had sexual intercourse with her.
Relatives were informed yesterday the child may not survive the surgery because of his fragile condition. â€śI couldnâ€™t stop crying when they told me this. I just sign the paper and walked away. He didnâ€™t come here for that. He came to the hospital because he was premature. I canâ€™t understand what led to this, we need answers,â€ť his maternal grandmother said.
The little boy was removed from the operating theatre in stable condition around 1.30 p.m. yesterday. â€śI am just happy he is out of that operation but he will have to live with their mistake for the rest of his life,â€ť she said.
The grandmother said she was disgusted by the events leading to the amputation of the left arm of her first grandchild.
The Point Fortin woman said, â€śMy daughter delivered the baby boy at the Point Fortin District Hospital on September 23. My daughter didnâ€™t know she was pregnant. She started getting severe belly pains and I gave her medication but it was not easing. We went to the hospital and the nurses said she was pregnant and having a miscarriage but I saw the baby coming and called the doctors.â€ť
Since the baby was born prematurely, he was transferred to the San Fernando General Hospitalâ€™s neonatal intensive care unit.
â€śBut before the baby went there I had to sign a consent form. My daughter was told there was a bacterial infection in the unit and placing the baby there was at our risk. So I signed the form because there are no facilities in Point Fortin. And two days later the baby contracted the infection,â€ť the grandmother said.
That was where the familyâ€™s struggles began.
â€śThree weeks ago, we went to visit the baby at the hospital. His right hand was swollen. We asked about it and got conflicting responses. The doctor told us he rolled and the needle broke in his hand. Then the nurse told us it was an IV burn,â€ť she said.
The IV connection was then switched to the left hand.
The hospital contacted the grandmother on Tuesday, asking that she accompany the childâ€™s mother to the hospital.
â€śAt 9.30 a.m. yesterday (Tuesday), the hospital called. We did not go and see him Sunday and Monday. They said if I can come, so I asked what was wrong with the baby. They said he was feeding well and he was off the oxygen. I said I donâ€™t think you call me to tell me that. Then they said they need us to come up to the hospital. They said I need to bring the childâ€™s mother but she was at school, so I had to get her,â€ť she said.
The grandmother said what they saw at the hospital was a motherâ€™s worst nightmare.
â€śWhen we reached there, the doctors came quickly but my daughter noticed it as soon as she walked in. The childâ€™s left hand was blacker than his entire body. I asked what happened to the child. A nurse said the IV ruptured in his hand and caused the soft tissue in his hand to die,â€ť she said.
The babyâ€™s fingertips were hanging and the arm appeared lifeless, she said.
â€śThey told us they would have to cut off the fingertips and they would be stubs. They said they will try to see if they can save his lower arm. If they canâ€™t, they will have to cut if off from his elbow. We want to know whether the child was being monitored at all while he was in ICU. Why did they allow this to happen? He went in because his lungs were not fully developed and he lost a limb,â€ť she said.
The grandmother said her daughter was prevented from taking photographs of her son and she was warned to remain silent on the issue, as she was underage.
â€śBut her age has nothing to do with this. The child lost his limb because of negligence on the part of the hospital. When my grandchild went there I was warned by a nurse to visit him everyday because babies die daily and we should be very cautious. Thatâ€™s exactly what happened here,â€ť she said.
CHATOORGOON CALLS FOR REPORT
The San Fernando hospitalâ€™s medical director, Dr Anand Chatoorgoon, said he was aware of the incident and has asked the hospitalâ€™s neonatal unit for a statement on the incident. â€śI should receive that this afternoon,â€ť he said.
Chatoorgoon said he was not aware that the babyâ€™s guardian was required to sign a consent form transferring the baby to the hospital at her own risk. â€śFrom time to time you get infections in the neonatal unit and we deal with it, because this is a hospital But I am not aware that she would have to sign a form for that. I will investigate that,â€ť he said.
Extracted From: Trinidad Express Newspaper
Published on Nov 21, 2014