Do not be afraid to go to the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan gave this reassurance to women yesterday, saying action will be taken in the case of the death of the baby whose head was cut during Caesarean section surgery.
He said he will be bringing to Parliament next week measures aimed at improving the health care system and reducing the maternal and infant mortality rates.
The minister also said he is considering making doctors liable for their own negligence instead of the State having to fork out compensation to affected families.
Khan reiterated that those responsible for the baby’s death will be held accountable pending the report of the independent investigative team which should be put in place by early next week.
Questioned on people’s fear to go to the public hospital to have their babies, Khan responded, “I could understand their fears and I could understand their apprehension. However, I do hope that they continue to go to Mt Hope. This case, we have taken action and hopefully after the investigation we will determine exactly what direction and penalties will be given to those responsible.”
He said Cabinet approved the recommendations of a maternal review committee and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had requested he brings the measures to Parliament as soon as possible.
He said three years ago the committee was established to look at the deficiencies in the system with respect to maternal deaths and infant mortality.
He said the recommendations to improve the system will be implemented.
Khan said a consultant should be present during high-risk pregnancies.
“There are many questions, why was he (the doctor) left alone and during the investigation we expect to get a report from everyone who was in the operation theatre, what went on and whether it corresponds to what the notes are saying,” said Khan.
Khan said doctors would be more careful in their practice if they are personally held responsible for negligence.
“I am also considering looking at the possibility of doctors having to carry their own medical indemnity in the public sector. At present, the Government takes all medical liabilities. It would be safe to say if one is responsible for his own medical indemnity more care will be given,” said Khan.
He said this would entail raising the salaries of doctor for them to purchase their own medical indemnity but he stressed at the end of the day the onus would be on the doctors for any mishaps.