Port of Spain General Hospital NICU baby death toll jumps to 18

Port of Spain – Two weeks after the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) announced that seven babies died at the Port-of-Spain Neonatal ICU between April 4 and 9, the deaths of 11 other infants have been added to a growing list by attorneys in a class action lawsuit against the health authority.

According to attorneys, this now brings to 18 the number of babies who reportedly died at the NICU due to the spread of infections.

In a pre-action protocol letter issued to the NWRHA yesterday, Anand Ramlogan, SC, who is leading the case on behalf of the babies’ parents, including a twin, said 18 babies between June 2022 and April 9 died at the facility. This figure, he said, is likely to increase with parents continually coming forward since the development was announced publicly.

Ramlogan, in his missive, called for the NWRHA to cease and desist from conducting its own investigations, especially now that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will be independently investigating the seven deaths, which the NWRHA referred to as a cluster.

“Why on earth would the NWRHA be investigating its own misconduct and medical negligence whilst the Minister of Health has announced that an “independent investigation” would be done by PAHO?

“The fact that the Government announced an independent investigation by PAHO implies that it agreed with the prevailing public sentiment that it does not have confidence in the NWRHA’s ability to investigate itself. It is trite law that a man cannot be a judge in his own cause, and this is nothing but a shameless case of himself unto himself,” Ramlogan said.

He added that his clients are concerned that this internal investigation will be an attempt at covering up wrongdoing ahead of the PAHO investigation.

Ramlogan claimed that he and his team of attorneys were advised that while PAHO representatives were being “ensconced in a nearby lunchroom blissfully unaware” yesterday, a clean-up operation was underway at the hospital. He added that several pieces of machinery that were either not working properly or being used incorrectly were suddenly decommissioned.

Guardian Media, however, could not independently verify this information.

“Our clients’ worst fears have come to pass. Both investigations are a complete and utter shameless sham. This explains why neither the NWHRA or Ministry of Health wants the grieving mothers who lost their babies to have an independent representative on the investigating team. Our clients’ representative would have obviously objected to this ridiculous and brazen attempt to railroad this stillborn investigation,” he said in the letter.

Ramlogan said his clients are not willing to allow any alleged tampering of evidence that may derail PAHO’s investigation. He added that there are staff members who are ready and willing to share the truth which the NWRHA, he claimed, is seeking to hide from them.

“In order for this investigation to make sense, we call upon the NWRHA to give a written public commitment that it will pay for any staff member who wishes to speak out and give evidence of wrongdoing to the investigators to have independent legal advice and representation.

“Furthermore, they must be granted a written indemnity protecting them from any potential acts of retaliation and victimisation. Unless this is done, silence is likely to be the order of the day because people are genuinely concerned about losing their jobs,” he added.

In response to claims, the NWRHA CEO Anthony Blake said he would review the letter and respond accordingly.

(Guardian TT)

The post Port of Spain General Hospital NICU baby death toll jumps to 18 appeared first on nationnews.com.

Leave a Reply