The doctor who performed a Caesarean section during which a baby boy’s head was sliced, penetrating his brain tissue, was yesterday suspended pending the report of an independent investigation.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan told the Express yesterday that after receiving a report on the incident he indicated to chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) Dr Shehenaz Mohammed that the doctor be immediately suspended.
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 .
The baby’s father, Emil Millington, through the Express, pleaded for answers surrounding his son’s death and called on the authorities for action, claiming there was an attempt to cover up the incident by cremating his baby the very day he died.
The baby’s body is now at a funeral home as the date for a funeral is still to be decided. He was to be named Simeon.
Sources told the Express there were many questions to be answered with respect to this case as the doctor who performed the surgery only recently obtained his specialist certification and should not have conducted the surgery without senior supervision.
Sources disclosed that the senior consultant on call on that day was not around and will also be called to answer for the absence and why the doctor, who is said to be in his early 30s, was allowed to lead the surgery unsupervised.
Mohammed told the Express the NCRHA board met yesterday at 1 p.m. and after reviewing the preliminary report and autopsy report and after consultation with the minister, a letter of suspension was sent to the doctor.
The doctor, who became a registrar after receiving his specialist qualifications, was suspended with basic salary.
Mohammed said consultant psychiatrist Dr Neleene Baboolal was mandated to continue to provide support and counselling for the family.
She said in keeping with good industrial practices and natural justice, the doctor in question was also offered counselling through the Employee Assistance Programme.
Told of the doctor’s suspension yesterday, Millington, speaking to the Express by phone, said he expects more stringent action to be taken but will await the outcome of the investigation.
Millington was also sympathetic towards the doctor, saying, “He’s a human being too but we have to know exactly what happened. I don’t like the idea of taking bread from another man’s mouth, but if a man can take away a life from me he has to understand there is a consequence to that.”
Millington said he welcomed the independent investigation but fears information will be tampered with as he again claimed were attempts to cremate his baby’s body the very day he died.
“The medical system as it is right now, this is against Trinidad and Tobago, this is greater than the insurrection of 1990 but I believe some good will come out of it,” said Millington.
He said he does not intend to “sit back and wait” and plans to seek the advice of a lawyer.
Millington said his family continues to grapple with its loss and he is trying to control his anger against the system.
“My hope is that this what happen to me, that it never happen to anyone else again and if there is going to be compensation given I will set up some kind of fund to help others who have suffered in this way as I have suffered. This is too much for me,” said Millington.
Millington broke down when asked how his wife and four-year-old son, Samuel, were coping.
“The only form of comfort I have is my son. He still rubbing his mother’s belly and asking when his brother coming, what are we supposed to tell him?” said an emotional Millington.