Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Baby Simeon report to be discussed by Cabinet today

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said a statement will be made in Parliament tomorrow on the death of baby Simeon Cottle whose head was cut open during a Caesarean section in March.

Responding to questions from the media following the opening of a police station in Piarco yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said she received a copy of the report into baby Simeon’s death from Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. Persad-Bisessar said the report will be brought to Cabinet today for discussion and a statement will be made in the House, Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, tomorrow when the Parliament meets.

The investigative team comprised consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist attached to the University of College London Hospitals Dr Melanie Clare Davies, Dr Petronella Manning-Alleyne, neonatologist and former head of the Neonatal Unit at the Port of Spain General Hospital and retired Appeal Court judge Mustapha Ibrahim who led the team.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said “while negligence was alluded to in the death of baby Simeon, it can be determined in a court of law.” He also said he was hoping to bring some closure to the investigation into Simeon’s death “within two weeks time.” Khan was attending the Orientation of Foreign Healthcare Professionals from Cuba, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines at Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, yesterday.

Baby Simeon died on March 1 after his head was cut while his mother Quelly Ann Cottle, 37, was undergoing a C-section at Mt Hope Hospital. Dr Javed Chinnia was suspended pending the outcome of an independent investigation. In the aftermath, Cottle had appealed to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to not let her baby’s death be in vain.

Asked for an update into the report yesterday, Khan said: “I got the whole report. I read it. I will be having a meeting with the Council of the Medical Board. They spoke to people. And this is what they found. And they spoke a little about the legal aspects. And the possibility of medical mishaps. There are recommendations. But they have to be dealt with by the Council and the Medical Board.”

Asked about negligence, Khan added: “It did. They alluded to it. Negligence is something they could allude or they could suggest with the possibility of. Once again, negligence is something that can only be proven in a court of law. The court of law is the place where negligence is determined. The court of law is where the judge determines based on what is presented to them. They did not recommend any disciplinary measures. The Council and personnel deal with discipline. Disciplinary action is the job of the medical council.”

He said: “There are recommendations which will be dealt with by the Medical Board. A lot of time was spent on developing neonatology practice. We have Dr Lutchman. A lot of the recommendations went into neonatal care. They indicated consultants should be brought in. They should have a large presence.”

On the need for closure, Khan said: “There is a timeframe that is based on the legislation. You can’t go on indefinitely. A two week period. It will be brought to closure shortly. We need to indicate to the doctors to get things in place. They will have to put a tribunal together. I would like to meet them (doctors) first before I give the direction. I can’t give you the exact time. But there is a timeframe...”