GRACE PRIMA V ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO No. 6501/1985
Type of Medical Negligence: Hospital Error/ Surgeon’s Error
Date of Judgment: 31st October, 1991
Presiding Judge: The Honourable Mr. Justice Basdeo Persad Maharaj
The plaintiff suffered a ruptured uterus while preparing to give birth to her child at the Mount Hope Maternity Hospital. Emergency surgery was performed and the body of the child was delivered by caesarian section. The child was still-born and the umbilical cord was found to be wrapped three times around his neck.
Due to the severity of the damage to the plaintiff’s uterus, a hysterectomy was subsequently performed. The removal of the plaintiff’s uterus resulted in Post- Operative Sepsis.
The plaintiff brought an action against the State by writ of summons dated 12th December, 1985 for negligent and unskillful medical treatment by the servants and /or agents of the defendant on the 13th December, 1984 which resulted in the death of the plaintiff’s child.
Although the defendant admitted that the plaintiff’s uterus was removed, they denied any negligence on the defendant’s part. The defendant argued that while the Plaintiff was in labour she was regularly observed and attended to by qualified nursing staff and treated in accordance with proper approved medical procedure.
Negligence by the defendant’s servant and /or agent was established since the Plaintiff was able to give evidence proving that she suffered injury due to the fact that the treatment did not fall within the accepted standard accepted as the norm. Furthermore sufficient care and skill was not exercised in treating the plaintiff during her second stage of labour and therefore the accepted care, skill and treatment fell below the standard of a reasonable competent midwife in her field.
Judgment for the Plaintiff. General Damages-$130,000.00; agreed special damages in the sum of $1,690.00