Consultant among doctors to be called before Medical Council
By Michael Jordan
The Guyana Medical Council is to question a foreign consultant and several other doctors in connection with the deaths last month of two maternal patients, Tricia Winth and Salima Ram.
Kaieteur News understands that the Consultant and about four junior doctors from the Linden Medical Complex are to be summoned before the Council, while about three doctors from the West Demerara Regional Council are to appear also.
The decision was made after members of the Council received two separate reports from the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC).
The reports stated that the staff who treated Winth and Ram made several errors and failed to provide adequate treatment for the two high-risk patients.
The Council will first write to the doctors, who will then have two weeks to respond.
Winth, 35, died at the Linden Hospital Complex on December 27, 2009, while Ram succumbed at the West Demerara Regional Hospital on December 29, 2009.
Post mortem examinations showed that both women were suffering from Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH), but were not treated for the life-threatening condition.
In the case of Winth, the MMRC report stated that the staff apparently failed to recognise the symptoms of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension.
Although Winth would have required Caesarean surgery, she was admitted to the Linden Complex, which did not have a functioning operating theatre at the time.
The report stated that Winth was readmitted to the Complex on December 26, 2009 at 19.30 hrs complaining of chest pains and vomiting.
The patient ceased to breathe at 1.30 am after arrangements were being made to send her to GPHC
The MMRC report pointed to the absence of the obstetrician to treat Winth.
It also stated the doctors passed information verbally to the nurses who administered the treatment to Winth. “There was clearly no indication from the records that the medical doctors understood the presenting signs and symptoms of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension from this patient…No clear diagnosis seems to have been made in this case,” the report said.
In the report on Salima Ram’s death, the MMRC noted that she was twice admitted to the West Demerara Regional Hospital.
However, the doctors who saw the 23-year-old apparently failed on both occasions to realise that she was a high-risk patient.
They instead treated her for a minor ailment rather than for the life-threatening Pregnancy Induced Hypertension from which she was suffering and which caused her death.
The absence of an obstetrician consultant and the lack of a functioning operating theatre at the institution also contributed to Ram’s demise.
The reports made several recommendations to prevent similar deaths.
They stated that every Regional Hospital should have at least one obstetrician – since it is the referral hospital in that region; that obstetrician should be available for 24 hours, and that all facilities are functional and able to cater to obstetric emergencies.