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NCRHA: Why were consultants absent for C-section?

By By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

Two consultants, one who was in Tobago and the other who was absent from the hospital, are being called to answer why they were not there to supervise a junior specialist to perform a Caesarian surgery that resulted in the death of a baby boy.

On Carnival Saturday, a C-section was performed on  Quelly Ann Cottle, 38, at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital during which her baby died after his head was cut during the procedure.

Cottle and the baby’s father, Emil Millington, are demanding answers as to why their son- named Simeon died.

They are claiming there was negligence and an attempt to cover up the incident.

The doctor who performed the surgery recently acquired his specialist certification.

He was suspended on Friday pending the outcome of an independent investigation.

Hospital sources say the doctor should have not performed the surgery without supervision from a senior consultant.

The Sunday Express understands that the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) wrote to the two consultants asking why they were not present at the hospital during what was considered a high-risk surgery.

Sources said that the first consultant on Carnival Thursday took the decision to schedule the surgery on Carnival Saturday.

However, the consultant left for Tobago on Carnival Saturday leaving the responsibility in the hands of another consultant.

In the letter, the first consultant was asked why was the surgery scheduled for Carnival Saturday if he would not be present.

The consultant was also asked why he chose Carnival Saturday to perform what was considered a high-risk pregnancy during a long weekend.

The consultant was also asked if there was adequate blood available for the patient in preparation for the surgery.

The second consultant was asked why she was not present during the surgery and why was the junior specialist allowed to perform the C-section without supervision.

Another letter was sent to the Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Samuel Ramsewak dated March 7 from NCRHA chief executive Kumar Boodram.

The letter stated that preliminary investigations and preliminary autopsy findings into the death of the baby indicated that there was need for a further in-depth investigation.

The letter noted that the consultant of the obstetric team who managed this patient is a UWI lecturer.

“In the interest of continued good relations between the NCRHA and UWI, and more so, in the interest of patient care, transparency and accountability to the public, I ask that you ensure (the doctor) co-operates with the NCRHA.  This co-operation is critical to the accuracy and thoroughness of this time-sensitive investigation which we assure you will be conducted in a fair and transparent manner reflecting all tenets of natural justice,” Boodram stated in the letter.

Contacted by phone yesterday Ramsewak confirmed he received the letter. He said he would ensure there was full co-operation from UWI in the independent investigation of the baby’s death.

Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan had questioned why the consultants were absent during the surgery and had instructed that the doctor be immediately suspended.

Speaking to the Sunday Express yesterday Khan said that the independent investigation will determine what exactly  went wrong and will cover all the unanswered questions.

He said everyone must be held accountable.

The funeral date for baby Simeon is yet to be decided.

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