TWO-MONTH-OLD Sharmin Alayna Maharaj suffered a lot during her short life and never got a chance to utter her first word.
Sharmin, who would have been three months old on Thursday, died at her Phekhoo Trace, Gasparillo, home yesterday. Her parents are asking why.
Amy Ramsawak, Sharmin's mother, said she never expected to wake up and see her daughter's lifeless body lying in the crib that was placed next to her bed. Ramsawak has one other daughter, three-year-old Shania Maharaj.
Ramsawak said, "I got up, I fed her about 2 o' clock some NeoSure milk. She burped and I put her back to sleep. When I went to check on her at about 5.30 this morning, she was not breathing or moving or anything. I started to bawl and scream. I called my husband and he called the police at Gasparillo. They called the ambulance and they came shortly and took her to the hospital. My husband went with them because I could not bring myself to go."
Ramsawak, 26, said two days after Sharmin's birth at the San Fernando General Hospital she underwent emergency surgery because her bowel was not functioning properly.
Despite this, she was healthy when she was born, her mother said. A piece of her bowel was taken for testing and the results stated that the bowel was fully functional but another surgery was scheduled, Ramsawak said.
Sharmin had to be taken to the hospital every week because she was always constipated.
"Every time we go to the hospital, they would keep flushing her out and send her back home. She was losing a lot of weight and the doctors never gave her anything to put it back on and I find that strange," she said.
Sharmin weighed almost three pounds when she was born.
Two Fridays ago, Ramsawak spent the night with her infant at the San Fernando General Hospital so the next day, a particular dye could have been injected in Sharmin's tiny body "to see if there was anywhere clogged or leaking".
Over the past three weeks, Sharmin's stomach was swollen and her body got thinner. She was not eating properly.
"Before that, she was acting like a normal baby, feeding properly and crying only when she was hungry," Ramsawak said.
"She would laugh and play as normal. But for the past two weeks, she was always bawling and crying and she stopped playing."
Sharmin's death was the second disaster for the family this year. Suresh Maharaj, Ramsawak's husband, said the day before Sharmin was born, his home was robbed of $10,000 cash that he planned to invest in his children's future and $5,000 in jewelry.
Maharaj, a scrap iron dealer who is renovating his home, said he was not at home when the robbery took place.
"Three gunmen went and held her up. I left to go home to go and get something for the baby and they were marking us apparently. She was at home with my other daughter. That shocked her and the next morning she went into labour so I don't know if that affected anything."
A tearful Ramsawak said, "I was hoping that she would just get over everything and have a normal life. When they finished with the re-correction surgery, which was what they called it, and we got back the results, they (doctors) said she would have lived a normal life. I just wanted her to get through this. To have a normal life, to go to school, to grow up and to live."
Maharaj said, "Right now, I don't know what to do. I don't know how I am going to cope. That is very hard to deal with."
The grieving mother wants a full investigation into her daughter's death.
"I want a full investigation. I have a feeling that she died because of the dye they put in her. Maybe it was too strong for her. I feel as if the doctors knew something and they did not tell me. As soon as the autopsy is done I am going to make a complaint at the hospital. I want an investigation. I want to find out what happened to her. Why did she have to die? I need to know."
Anil Gosine, chief executive officer of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), offered condolences to the family.
He said, "We are very sorry to hear what happened but we cannot really do anything until after the autopsy. An investigation will be done but we will need the results of the autopsy first."
An autopsy is expected to take place on tomorrow, Ramsawak said.