THREE-WEEK BABY BURNT ON HAND

Silika Jacob, a 23-year-old mother of Lowlands, Tobago, is seeking answers from medical professionals at the Scarborough Hospital, after her newborn baby daughter Kevisha suffered what appears to be burns to her right hand days after birth at the facility. Officials, however, have been unable to explain what happened. Jacob first appeared on CNC3’s Crime Watch programme on Monday to highlight her problem.

In an interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Jacob said she was told by medical professionals at the hospital, after Kevisha’s birth on July 18, that she had a breathing problem and was in an incubator. She said she then saw a bandage on the child’s hand, asked about it and was told that it was a “swelling.” She said was not told exactly what caused the swelling, but was told not to “interfere with it” because it might become infected.

Jacob said approximately 12 days after the bandages were removed from the child’s hand, she saw what she described as a burn.

When she asked about it, she said, no one was able to give her an answer. She said she was then told to pack her belongings as she was being sent to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Trinidad. She said she spent a night at EWMSC and was then sent to the San Fernando General Hospital. At San Fernando, she said, the child’s hand was dressed again and then she was sent back to Tobago.

She said upon her return to Tobago she visited nurses at the Bethel Health Centre to get the child’s hand dressed and was told the procedure could not be done because there was no water. She then visited the Canaan Health Centre and was told it was not dressing day for babies. Buccoo Health Centre, she said, eventually assisted her with the dressing.

Jacob said when she asked what caused the injury to the child’s hand she was told by a medical professional that she was unable to give information. When she asked for the names of the doctors involved in the delivery, by C-section, she was told she could not get that information, she said. Jacob said she had been paying for the constant travel between Trinidad and Tobago since then to ensure her daughter got proper treatment on the hand.

Medical documents provided to the T&T Guardian by Jacob showed the child was admitted to the Tobago hospital on July 24. It gave the diagnosis of the injury as an “IV burn to dorsum.” The dorsum is the back of the hand. Attempts to contact officials at the Scarborough Hospital were unsuccessful yesterday. The T&T Guardian was told to contact the CEO today to speak on the matter.

Contacted yesterday, however, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said although he had not seen the report, nor was he aware of the incident, what had most likely occurred was what is defined in medicine as an extrusion of fluid when an IV device is placed in a vein. He said it happened to adults as well as children.

Khan said the extravascular extrusion of IV fluids can cause the area around the needle to have an inflammatory response as a result of the foreign fluid. The body reacts, he said, by walling it off and pushing it out through the skin. This, he said, took a while to heal, especially in a baby’s hand. Khan said, in most instances such as these, it was not usually a case of negligence. He said he would like medical professionals, in cases such as these, where people feel wronged, to explain thoroughly what had occurred.

Customer service and explanation, he said, cost nothing, adding that he has been trying to instill that throughout the healthcare system. Khan said he believed this was an example where it was needed. He said, however, that there were some doctors and nurses quite good at explanations and service to patients.

Extracted From: Trinidad Guardian Newspaper
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

 
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