NWRHA ACCEPTS LIABILITY IN BABY’S DEATH OPERATION GONE WRONG
WHAT was supposed to be a simple, routine medical procedure at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope resulted in the death of a one-month-old baby boy almost eight years ago.
The North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) was sued for medical negligence in 2004, but it was only yesterday it accepted liability for little Nathan Forde’s death. A High Court judge will determine, at a later date, the amount of compensation his parents will receive.
But Nigel Forde, a pipe-fitter of Petit Valley, and his wife, Nadia Farrier, a domestic worker, still feel no joy at having the NWRHA take responsibility for Nathan’s death.
“We are thankful that we were able to get a little justice,” said Forde. “But this (winning the case) is no compensation.”
Baby Nathan was taken to the Mt Hope Clinic by Farrier on August 7, 2001, to have an extra finger on both his hands removed.
In a writ filed by attorneys Anand Ramlo-gan and Cindy Bhagwandeen, Farrier said a doctor explained to her that the procedure would be done on the same day Nathan was admitted and would last approximately ten minutes.
Farrier said she was told by the doctor that Nathan would be awake during the surgery and that she would be allowed to stay with him while in the operating theatre.
“The doctor told me that it would be a routine, simple procedure and would not involve putting my baby to sleep because he would be given a local anaesthetic,” Farrier said.
Arriving at the Same-day Paediatric Surgery Clinic at the EWMSC on August 13, 2001, Nathan was taken into a surgery room, but his mother was not allowed to go in with him. Nathan was wheeled out of the room two hours later with a plaster on both his hands.
“On reaching the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit I was told to wait outside until the nurses made my baby comfortable,” she recalled.
“When I was allowed to enter, I saw my baby in an incubator and he was hooked up to a machine (ventilator). They were monitoring his heart and blood pressure and he was given oxygen through a tube.
“One of the nurses told me to talk to my baby as he will hear me but would not be able to respond.”
Farrier left the hospital at around 4 p.m. and was told, when she called at around 8 p.m., that Nathan was doing fine and that he was breathing on his own.
“At around 4.45 a.m. the following day, the hospital called and said that my baby’s condition had changed for the worse and whether my husband or me could return to the hospital immediately.
“When I arrived there I noticed that my baby was not moving … when I went to see the doctor, he told me that my baby had died and that he didn’t know what had happened for his condition to make a change for the worse. He told me that they tried to save his life but my baby didn’t make it,” Farrier said.
Farrier said she became extremely depressed following Nathan’s death and started taking sleeping pills because she no longer wanted to live.
The couple applied for their son’s medical notes, which revealed that Nathan was placed under general anaesthesia— something which was never discussed with his parents and, therefore, was not consented to.
The notes also indicated that Nathan was administered an excessive amount of intravenous fluid and, as a result, suffered heart failure.
Farrier has given birth to another son, named Shane, since Nathan’s death. He too was born with extra digits on his hands but will continue into adulthood with them intact.
Extracted From: Trinidad Express Newspaper
Published on Mar 3, 2009