Trinidad: PoSGH Baby Fatalities Rise To 11; More Parents Come Forward

(TT GUARDIAN) – The list of babies who died recently at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the Port-of-Spain General Hospital (POSGH), due to a suspected bacterial infection, continued to grow yesterday as lawyers identified three others, bringing the current running total to 11.

The latest suspected cases were identified by attorneys of Freedom Law Chambers led by Anand Ramlogan SC in a pre-action protocol letter sent yesterday to attorney Alana Bissessar, of Pollonais, Blanc, de la Bastide and Jacelon, which is representing the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA).

In the correspondence, obtained by Guardian Media, attorney Sue Ann Deosaran identified Sangre Grande couple Farah Rattansingh and Christopher Bhagan, whose twins Amari and Kyrie Bhagan died within days of each other in late February.

She also pointed out that parents Jodie and Travis Molino, who were among the seven affected families acknowledged by the Ministry of Health last week, in fact also had a pair of twins, Ella and Esme Molino, who died within weeks of each other at the hospital on March 18 and April 4.

The other parents have been identified as Shaniya Raymond-Adams/Kerron Charles, Shirse Moore-Beckles/ Rondell Beckles, Danyelle Samaroo/Avinash Chatergoon, Tinelle Saunders/Gus Williams, Shaquille Harry/Kadeem Williams, Natasha Samuel/Brent Wilson, and Nandaranie Nathoo/Allister Pierre.

Deosaran sought to explain why the list of potential claimants in a proposed class action medical negligence lawsuit rose and may continue to rise.

“As previously indicated, several parents have contacted us with horror stories about the way they were treated at the PoSGH and the death of their babies. We shall continue to issue more pre-action letters when we are finished interviewing these clients,” she said.

Like in the previous pre-action letters sent on behalf of four families, Deosaran gave a synopsis of what transpired with Rattansingh and Bhagan’s twins Amari and Kyrie.

The twins were born prematurely at 28 weeks gestation at the Sangre Grande Hospital on January 6 and were subsequently transferred to the PoSGH. Upon being admitted to the PoSGH NICU, Kyrie was placed on intubation to help him breathe. After a few weeks, medical staff began to wean him off the breathing apparatus, as his condition appeared to improve.

Deosaran claimed he was briefly placed back on intubation after the parents were told he had a high concentration of carbon dioxide in his body. She claimed that on February 20, the couple noticed their baby was “looking down”. During a visit the following day, the couple found him with tubes down his throat and covered in plastic.

“Our client instructs that she saw her baby looking yellow and in a daze, and Farah and Chris then grew increasingly worried, as they were not certain what was taking place with their baby,” Deosaran said.

She claimed the couple was told their baby may have had an infection and tests were being conducted. They were reportedly told this was “totally normal” for premature babies and they should not worry.

The following day when they arrived at the hospital, they saw doctors attempting to resuscitate Kyrie. He died several hours later.

While the couple was grieving at the hospital, they were asked when they would be picking up his body because it could not be kept for more than three hours.

“To this day, these words still echo in Farah and Chris’ ears, and haunt them, as they could not believe that they would have so callously dismissed. Nothing could justify such a cold-hearted and heartless response,” Deosaran said.

Dealing with Kyrie’s brother Amari, Deosaran said he did not need help breathing when he was admitted to the NICU. Two weeks later, the couple was told he may have gotten an infection.

The following day, they were called to a meeting with a doctor and informed that he had been accidentally fed breast milk from another mother by a nurse. The next day, they were told Amari had an infection and the bacteria was “Klebsiella”.

She claimed Amari briefly recovered before suffering a relapse almost a week later. On February 26, Farah noticed blood coming from a tube in his chest and was told this was normal. Later that day, he had a seizure and died several hours later.

Deosaran claimed the couple initially found solace in attributing the deaths of their sons to their premature birth. She said the couple, who are co-workers, had to seek counselling through their employer, as they were not contacted by a NWRHA social worker as promised.

Deosaran said the common thread amongst their clients was that they were all subjected to “hostile, hoggish, and unprofessional” behaviour from hospital staff.

“This is an area that must be urgently reviewed to prevent such cruel and inhumane treatment of patients who are tax-paying citizens.”

Speaking in Parliament last Friday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh confirmed the deaths of seven of the infants between April 4 and 7 and said an investigation was being conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Officers. He subsequently said the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) was invited to conduct an independent probe.