HAPPIER TIMES: A pregnant Sally Khan and her husband Gary Gajadhar in happier times.

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Woman, unborn twins die

Minister Khan puzzled by death

By Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

A 34-YEAR-old Mayaro woman and her unborn twins died on Monday at hospital mere weeks before she was to give birth. 

Sally Khan, of Mitchell Trace, Mafeking Village, was pronounced dead at the Mayaro District Hospital where she had been taken for treatment after she collapsed at her home. 

Khan’s husband, Gary Gajadhar, 26, said yesterday: “I am still in a state of shock. I cannot say how I am feeling. Even if I say they (Ministry of Health authorities) should investigate this, that does not mean that they will. This is Trinidad and anything goes. So it is best that the candle continues to burn”. 

The couple were in a relationship for six years, and have a four-year-old daughter. He said they did not know the sex of the babies. 

Gajadhar’s sister, Giselle Gajadhar, 25, said Khan was 34 weeks pregnant, and every effort should have been made to save the twins. Her sister, Jillian Gajadhar, 22, said at the hospital nurses told her that the babies were alive after they examined Khan. “They told me that they sounded her and heard the babies hearts beating. So why couldn’t they save them?” 

“They (medical staff) should have at least tried to save the children. That is slackness. The Minister of Health needs to pull up on the socks of the Mayaro Hospital,” said Giselle Gajadhar. 

Gajadhar said his wife developed diabetes during her pregnancy, and she was a patient of the prenatal clinic at the Sangre Grande Area Hospital. He said she was not taking special medication for her condition, nor did she ever complain of illness. 

According to another of Gajadhar’s sisters, Jillian Gajadhar, 22, Khan spent her last day doing her household chores, taking her daughter to and from school. 

“She was sitting shelling peas and she was getting out of breath. At around 5 p.m. she called out to me. She stood up by her bedroom window and called me. I ran and when I went into the house, she was lying on her bed. She was frothing from her mouth. She couldn’t talk. I ran out into the road to get a car to take her to the hospital,” said Jillian Gajadhar. 

She said while at the hospital, the staff told the family that Khan would be transferred to the Sangre Grande Area Hospital for further treatment. “But we  kept waiting and waiting and nothing was happening. After an hour and a half, we started to make noise and eventually a nurse came and told us that she and the babies died,” said Giselle Gajadhar. 

Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan yesterday said he had sent for a report from the hospital after learning of Khan’s death. 

The minister said: “What came out of the initial report was that the mother arrived at the Mayaro hospital completely unresponsive and presumed dead. However, they thought they were hearing some faint heart beats. I asked the obstetrician and gynaecologist what went on. She was to be transferred to Sangre Grande (area hospital). What he indicated to me was once the mother comes in unresponsive like that you have five minutes to do a Caesarean section because of the flow of the blood. What I am really questioning is why that did not occur.”

Khan said the Mayaro District Hospital was currently being upgraded to “take care of those types of emergencies”. 

“In the past, the Mayaro hospital had maternity areas for normal deliveries, but not for Caesarean sections. If there were Caesarean sections they were admitted to the Sangre Grande hospital”, said the minister. 

Khan said he was puzzled by the death. “I am questioning what happened to a 34-week pregnant woman to succumb so fast? Because ante-natal care would have picked that up. I have asked them to try to go into the notes of that patient. A pregnant lady should not die in this day and age because there are enough preventative methods,” said Khan. 

An autopsy was expected to be performed on Khan yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre. 

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