Judge finds SWRHA guilty of negligence

A high court judge has found the South West Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty (SWRHA) guilty of med­ical neg­li­gence in the death of 30-year-old Navin Singh.

In a rul­ing on Fri­day at the San Fer­nan­do Supreme Court, Jus­tice Ava­son Quin­lan-Williams found the man was mis­di­ag­nosed and that doc­tors at the Princes Town Health cen­tre did not car­ry out suf­fi­cient tests which would have shown that Singh had a flesh-eat­ing bug and not sci­a­tia.

Singh died less than 48 hours af­ter he was twice mis­di­ag­nosed by doc­tors at the Princes Town Health cen­tre when he was ac­tu­al­ly dy­ing from the flesh-eat­ing bug virus necro­tiz­ing fasci­itis.

Af­ter the rul­ing, the man’s moth­er Bhag­wan­tee Singh-Weekes, who filed the law­suit was more than pleased with the out­come.

‚ÄúWe got jus¬≠tice. I can‚Äôt get back my child but I get to un¬≠der¬≠stand what took place with him and what hap¬≠pened,‚ÄĚ said Singh-Weekes in a tele¬≠phone in¬≠ter¬≠view yes¬≠ter¬≠day.

The court heard that back in 2014, Singh’s moth­er Bhag­wan­tee from Ga­jad­har Lands, Princes Town, took him to the health cen­tre be­cause he had se­vere pain in his right knee and was vom­it­ing.

He was at­tend­ed to by Dr Shane Karim who made a di­ag­no­sis of sci­at­i­ca and pre­scribed tra­madol, gravol and zan­tac.

Singh’s con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rat­ed re­sult­ing in him be­ing un­able to walk or move. He was tak­en back to the Princes Town health cen­tre and at­tend­ed to by Dr Bene­dict, who pre­scribed the same med­ica­tion as the one be­fore and again sent him home.

Nei­ther doc­tor at the health cen­tre per­formed blood tests or any fur­ther test­ing on Singh.

Two days lat­er the 30-year-old re­turned to the health cen­tre and was im­me­di­ate­ly re­ferred to the San Fer­nan­do Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal be­cause of his crit­i­cal con­di­tion. At the hos­pi­tal, he was di­ag­nosed with the flesh-eat­ing bug Necro­tis­ing Fasci­itis. Navin suc­cumbed to his in­juries and died at the hos­pi­tal the fol­low­ing day.

Dur­ing the court pro­ceed­ings, renowned in­ter­na­tion­al ex­pert Dr David May­er As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Clin­i­cal Surgery from New York Med­ical Col­lege tes­ti­fied as an ex­pert wit­ness via video link.

Dr May­er said that the med­ical treat­ment of Navin was neg­li­gent and de­fi­cient and the doc­tors failed to per­form ba­sic blood tests that could have alert­ed them that there was a bac­te­r­i­al in­fec­tion which would have led to an ear­ly di­ag­no­sis of Necro­tis­ing Fasci­itis.

Pro­fes­sor Vi­jay Narayns­ingh al­so tes­ti­fied on be­half of the Health Au­thor­i­ty, to the ef­fect that had an ear­li­er di­ag­no­sis been made, prop­er treat­ment could have been ad­min­is­tered that would have saved Navin’s life.

Jus­tice Quin­lan-Williams, al­so found that Dr Bene­dict was not a cred­i­ble wit­ness.

She then found the SWRHA li­able for dam­ages in med­ical neg­li­gence and in­di­cat­ed the court would pro­ceed to as­sess the com­pen­sa­tion to be paid at a lat­er date.

Singh’s moth­er, Bhag­wan­tee was rep­re­sent­ed by Anand Ram­lo­gan SC, Jared Ja­groo and in­struct­ed by Dr Che` Din­di­al of Free­dom Law Cham­bers. The Health Au­thor­i­ty was rep­re­sent­ed by Vi­jai De­onar­ine, Maris­sa Ram­sun­da in­struct­ed by Krys­tal Kaw­al.

Thank¬≠ing her at¬≠tor¬≠neys and fam¬≠i¬≠ly for their sup¬≠port, Weekes-Singh said, ‚ÄúThe five years of strug¬≠gle was not easy. Thank God every¬≠thing work out. It was re¬≠al¬≠ly re¬≠al¬≠ly tough.‚ÄĚ She said every one in the fam¬≠i¬≠ly had put their lives on hold as they fought this le¬≠gal bat¬≠tle.

‚ÄúHon¬≠est¬≠ly every¬≠day you get up and you have to try to live with this on your mind.‚ÄĚ She said her son was a welder and was en¬≠gaged to be mar¬≠ried the fol¬≠low¬≠ing year be¬≠fore he died.

The moth¬≠er called for an in¬≠de¬≠pen¬≠dent body com¬≠pris¬≠ing med¬≠ical ex¬≠perts and pro¬≠fes¬≠sion¬≠als to be set up to deal with claims of med¬≠ical neg¬≠li¬≠gence at the pub¬≠lic hos¬≠pi¬≠tals. ‚ÄúImag¬≠ine, the doc¬≠tors here were telling me that they did every¬≠thing for my child and they did not do noth¬≠ing.‚ÄĚ


By: Sascha Wilson & Melissa Williams-Sambrano







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