(Jamaicaobserver) – She was told to spend time with her baby because the infant did not have much longer to live.
Seven-week-old Tiziana Blake, who had spent much of her short life at Bustamante Hospital for Children, needed a ventilator.
Her mother, Trishauna Watson, who spoke with the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday, said that doctors confirmed that none of the six assigned to the hospital was available.
None was available at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) or Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH).
The baby died as a result.
There are 108 working ventilators in public health facilities across the island, the Sunday Observer can confirm.
Watson said Tiziana, who was born on March 31 at Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth, was diagnosed with annular pancreas and had to be transferred to Bustamante Hospital where she underwent surgery.
“She went to the intensive care unit because after she was born they realised that she was not well. The issue is that she wasn’t feeding. She had a narrowing in her intestines and it required surgery. She had an annular pancreas,” Watson explained to the Sunday Observer in an interview last Wednesday.
This is a rare birth defect in which the developing pancreas does not form properly. The condition is caused by a ring of extra pancreatic tissue that covers the first part of the small intestine, blocking or impairing the passage of food.
“So she was at Black River [Hospital] until April 29 and she was transferred to do the surgery at Bustamante. The surgery was successful and she was recovering well and coming on fine. That is what the doctors told me, and I have the recordings because I know how the public health system is. So each time I spoke with them I recorded and they said that she was doing well,” said Watson.
The 21-year-old woman, who previously suffered a miscarriage, said there was a turn of events when she left her baby for the weekend (May 14-16) to return to St Elizabeth for her six-week post-pregnancy check-up, having undergone a Caesarean section.
She said upon returning to the hospital she observed that the child had got smaller in size and was on oxygen.
“So I asked what happened to my baby and why was she on oxygen? They said that she wasn’t breathing properly and that she is sick and they don’t know what happen to her or what’s going on. I have all of this on record,” the woman said.
Doctors later confirmed, following a series of tests, that the baby had developed an infection, though they were not able to determine what caused it.
Watson said that the baby was being treated with antibiotics, although she was not told what the infection was.
During her absence, she said that her child had also developed “severe diaper rash”.
Following this discovery, she said that she was told to get a particular product for the infant but while making her way back to the hospital a few days later she was informed by a doctor that her baby was not doing well.
“The doctor called me and said Ms Watson, the baby is not doing well so when you come you’re going to see a lot of people around the baby. I had left to get it and when I came back the Thursday I noticed a lot of people around her. They were performing CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] and pumping the baby. That was in the morning around after 9. So afterwards them come to me and say the baby not breathing well and that her oxygen levels a go down in the 30s and it can’t stay there,” the young mother, who was raw with emotions, said.
She shared that doctors later intubated the infant and noted that she needed a ventilator.
“I asked if she needed a ventilator where would she get one. They said normally babies are sent to them when they need ventilators but right now they don’t have one there and they are going to call UHWI who didn’t have any available, and they called Cornwall Regional and they didn’t have one available. I asked where else can my baby get a ventilator and they said nowhere else. They said if the tube they put in doesn’t work and she doesn’t get a ventilator she won’t make it.
“I asked if there was no private hospital in Jamaica that the baby could get a ventilator and he [doctor] said no, which I have on recording as well. He said no ventilator was available,” said Watson.
She told the Sunday Observer that immediately after that conversation, she insisted on seeing her child but was unable to, because doctors had to again perform CPR as the infant’s heart had stopped beating for a second time.
“Them come back to me and said they called back Cornwall Regional and they still don’t have any ventilator so I must come spend time with the baby because they don’t know how much time she have. From there everything went downhill,” she said.
Tiziana died later that day (May 20).
Watson said she was accompanied by her spouse on Tuesday to collect the child’s death certificate which stated that she died from sepsis. It’s sometimes called septicemia. This occurs when the body has an unusually severe response to an infection. During sepsis, the immune system, which fights against germs, releases a lot of chemicals into the blood. This triggers widespread inflammation that can lead to organ damage.
Watson said having reminded doctors that the baby’s blood test result had returned with no indication of an infection, she was told that a urine test was done and it was determined that the infant had developed urinary tract infection.
“They said that, that was an overwhelming contribution to her death,” said Watson.
The Sunday Observer contacted Senior Medical Officer at Bustamante Hospital Dr Michelle-Ann Richards-Dawson and was told to send an e-mail to Chief Executive Officer Camile Wallen Panton.
Dr Richards-Dawson said that she could not comment on the matter without permission from Wallen Panton.
The e-mail, which was sent on Wednesday, has not been answered.
Subsequent attempts to speak with Dr Richards-Dawson were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Watson said that her family has contacted an attorney-at-law to look into the matter on the family’s behalf.