May 24, 2010 News
West Dem Hospital maternal death…
An external investigation into the recent maternal death at the West Demerara Regional Hospital has been recommended by Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud. Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy made this disclosure to this newspaper yesterday.
According to the Minister who has just returned from the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, he was in receipt of a note from Dr Persaud last Friday which indicated the need for the external investigation.
He revealed that hospital officials had submitted the report to the CMO who had reviewed it and recognised that further investigation was necessary. Although the Minister has not been able to review the report himself his suspicions are that Dr Persaud has found sufficient evidence that suggest that the maternal death was not a normal one. “Based on his note I believe that he has found enough for us to look into this matter. Once an investigation is called for it usually means that we are not satisfied that the hospital did everything it could…”
As such, the Minister said that Dr Persaud will now be tasked with streamlining an external investigation. This, he said, will be characterised by the CMO’s selection of a team of experts that are not a part of the West Demerara Hospital to do a thorough investigation; following the processes that were undertaken from the time that the patient was admitted to the time of her death.
However, the Minister noted that though an external investigation is being warranted no one is currently being held culpable. “Though there seems to be a need for us to do our own investigation this doesn’t mean that anybody has done something wrong. Whenever a death occurs we regret it and we always investigate to ascertain that nothing was overlooked in the whole process but we don’t just accuse anybody of wrong doing without a thorough investigation,” the Minister asserted.
However, there have been reports that the maternal death could have been prevented had warning signs been adhered to. Dr Persaud had earlier speculated that the woman’s death could have been due to underlying cardiac problems which may have gone unrecognised. He had noted that although the patient, Waheeda Basil, of De Willem, West Coast Demerara, was 38 years of age it appears that there was no detection of the condition during the course of her pregnancy. However, he had noted that this conclusion can only be ascertained after a thorough investigation into the matter concludes.
And even while he was in possession of a preliminary report, Dr Persaud had revealed that the Hospital’s Committee was still investigating the matter. According to him hospital officials had informed him of the death 24 hours after it occurred and had subsequently furnished him with the report.
The West Demerara Hospital was tasked with carrying out an investigation in the death of the woman who succumbed sometime after 18:00 hours three Thursdays ago. This newspaper was reliably informed that the woman who was previously a patient of the Meten-Meer-Zorg Health Centre was advised to travel to the West Demerara Regional Hospital after experiencing labour pains the same day. The woman was so advised, this newspaper learnt, because her delivery was even then seen as a high-risk one, a situation which was hinged on the fact that she had last given birth some 13 years ago and she was very obese.
Accompanied by her husband Deonarine Basil, the woman was admitted at the Regional Hospital and reports are that she safely gave birth to her third child. However, it was revealed that shortly after giving birth, the woman started complaining of dizziness and died before the source of her dilemma could be ascertained.
A source close to the operation of the hospital revealed that the woman bled for nearly one hour before a doctor who was summoned arrived to attend to her. However, a senior official at the hospital in an invited comment had assured that “everything that could have been done was done to save this woman’s life. The husband was there and he knows that the nurses and the doctors did everything that was possible.”
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