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SWRHA faces lawsuit over man’s death

…succumbed to rare flesh-eating bacterium

By Joel Julien

Story Created: Mar 8, 2015 at 11:02 PM ECT

Story Updated: Mar 8, 2015 at 11:02 PM ECT

THE PARENTS of a 30-year-old man who died from a rare flesh-eating bacterium have threatened legal action against the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) over claims of medical negligence and maltreatment.
They have also written to Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan calling for a full investigation into their son’s death.
On October 30 last year Navin Singh, of Gajadhar Lands, Princes Town, died.
An autopsy performed by Prof Hubert Daisley revealed that Singh’s death was as a result of “septic shock necrotising fasciitis” of the right limb.
According to the Centres for Disease Control, necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial infection that spreads rapidly and destroys the body’s soft tissue.
Known as a flesh-eating infection, this rare disease can be caused by different types of bacteria.
Locally in the past 30 years at least 11 people have been diagnosed with the flesh-eating necrotising fasciitis disease.
In several of the cases, the patient survived, Dr Vijay Naraynsingh, Professor of Surgery at The University of the West Indies (UWI), told the Express last November.
Five days before his death Singh was diagnosed and treated for a pinched nerve.
Singh’s parents, Bhagwantee Singh-Weekes and Andy Weekes, have since approached attorneys Martin George & Company seeking help in taking legal action against the SWRHA over the situation.
Last Thursday, March 5, a pre-action protocol letter signed by attorney Candace Lopez was sent to SWRHA chief executive officer Anil Gosine.
The letter states that on October 25 last year Singh “complained of pain in his right knee and vomiting”.
“Due to the amount of pain (Singh) was experiencing (his parents) decided to take him to the Princes Town District Health Facility for an examination and some tests,” the letter stated.
Singh was examined by Dr Shane Karim and diagnosed with a pinched nerve, the letter stated.
“(Singh) was given Zantac, Tramadol and Gravol and was sent home,” the letter stated.
On October 26, however, Singh’s “pains intensified” and he felt “fatigued and weakened”.
His right knee also began to swell.
Eventually Singh was unable to walk and had to be rushed back to the Princes Town District Health Facility.
On October 27 last year Singh was seen by Dr Stephen McBenedict.
On October 29 last year Singh’s condition “worsened considerably”.
For the third time in five days Singh was rushed to the Princes Town District Health Facility.
“Upon arrival at the Princes Town District Health Facility and despite the urgency of their case (Singh’s parents) were told that they had to wait as there were many patients ahead of him,” the letter stated.
While waiting, a passing orderly, who saw Singh’s condition, rushed him in to see the doctor on duty.
He was seen by Dr Suneel Roopnarine.
Roopnarine diagnosed Singh with “septic shock”.
Singh was rushed to the San Fernando General Hospital.
Dr Bheem at the San Fernando General Hospital diagnosed Singh with “subcutaneous gangrene with necrotising fasciitis”.
Around 6.55 p.m. an emergency surgery was performed on Singh.
Around 2.15 a.m. on October 30 last year Singh’s blood pressure began to deteriorate.
Four hours later he was pronounced dead.
The SWRHA has been given seven days in which to respond to the letter.
Contacted by the Express yesterday Gosine confirmed that he was in receipt of the pre-action protocol letter.
“I did receive the letter from the attorneys (Martin George and Company) and this week I will deal with it accordingly. At this point in time I would not be able to tell you anything further on it,” Gosine said.
“I will be liasing with the legal adviser at the Ministry of Health on the matter,” he said.
Last November the SWRHA announced plans to launch an investigation into Singh’s death.
Gosine yesterday said that investigation has since been completed and a report was submitted to the Health Ministry on the matter.
Extracted From:  Trinidad Express Newspaper

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