(Guardian.co.tt) – Chief Executive Officer at the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) Davlin Thomas said medical staff at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex were “disheartened” that they could not save a 12-year old girl from St Vincent diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour.
He said the child was brought to the Paediatric Emergency Department (PED) at Mount Hope only after suffering complications from brain surgery at the St Augustine Private Hospital. Her surgery at that private hospital had taken place a month earlier.
Thomas issued a statement after the child’s mother, St Vincent national Soflyn Roberts, claimed negligence at the Mount Hope Hospital was responsible for her daughters’ death.
The NCHRA listed the surgeries the child underwent before being admitted to the PED at My Hope, including surgery in St Vincent in October and a more recent one at St Augustine Private Hospital on November 1.
Following that operation in November, the patient was treated on multiple occasions at the PED, “including December 4, when she complained about vomiting and on December 7 when she presented to the PED with seizures”.
“On December 20 she again presented to the Emergency Department with an infected wound and a blocked shunt,” the NCRHA said.
“Following her admission, the medical team at the EWMSC realized that urgent surgery was required to address the infection and to clear the blockage. The mother indicated that she was not ready to sign consent at the time, despite being counseled on the urgent nature of the case,” the hospital said.
“Approval for the emergency surgery was not granted by her mother until later that night. The surgery was performed and Jasmine was admitted to the Peds ICU,” the NCRHA said.
The NCRHA said that despite their best efforts, the patient’s condition continued to deteriorate. She experienced seizures, decreased respiratory rate and other breathing issues which required intubation on Christmas Eve.
“A follow-up CT scan showed brain damage and later tests confirmed this diagnosis,” the NCRHA said.
The NCRHA is defending itself against reports that its negligence led to the child’s death.
“The minor of Ms Wilson received excellent support, close monitoring and intensive care from the medical team at the EWMSC. This included an aggressive antibiotic regimen and numerous CT scans to ascertain accurate diagnosis and guidance for the progression of care, as doctors sought to intervene to manage the critical medical situation that was facing the patient,” the NCRHA said.
But while the NCRHA seemed to blame St Augustine Private Hospital for the child’s death, officials at the private hospital said it was not at fault. Medical Director Dr. Ajit Udit, in a brief interview with Guardian Media yesterday, said the shunt was implanted in St Vincent before the patient was transferred to Trinidad for urgent surgery.
“The neurosurgeon operated and she was well and discharged,” Udit said.
He said there were no complications before, during or after the surgery on the child and she spent several days recuperating at the private hospital before being discharged “in a good state”.
“The shunt, which became blocked had to be redone was done at Mt Hope and then the patient developed further complications,” he said.
“I understand that the mother failed to give consent for further operations and patient fitted and arrested,” he said.