Mar 02, 2021 News
Death of Berbice mother and baby….
By Malisa Playter-Harry
Kaieteur News – Days after news broke about the passing of a newborn baby girl and her mother at the New Amsterdam (N/A) Hospital in Berbice, the Ministry of Health had launched an investigation. Relatives had lambasted medical professionals stationed at the hospital, the hospital’s administration and even health services, in general, in Region Six. They believed that what took place was a clear act of negligence and incompetence on the part of the doctors and nurses who attended to Vanessa Lewis-Sahadeo and her stillborn baby.
Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, during his budget debate presentation yesterday noted that the death of the mother and her baby was “unfortunate” and that a team was sent to the N/A Hospital on Sunday to investigate what took place. Minister Anthony further stated that the investigation has been completed and he is awaiting the recommendations from the team. Based on those recommendations, action will be taken against those culpable, the Minister said.
“When I get those recommendations, we will take action against the nurses and doctors and whoever is at fault in that unfortunate death,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the uncle of the dead woman, Joseph Lewis, who resides in Georgetown, told reporters that a post mortem was conducted at the New Amsterdam Hospital by one Dr. Lopez and the autopsy revealed that the baby suffered from Newborn Hemorrhagic Syndrome (a deficiency in Vitamin K). The disease itself causes bleeding in the newborn baby but can be prevented.
Lewis stated that he was advised by doctors that had that been the case, a dose of Vitamin K would have been administered, at least one hour prior to delivery or within one hour after delivery, but that was not done. He pointed out that based on what was seen on the baby, nothing was mentioned about the indentation of the infant’s temple and the visible blood shot seen. He stated that clamps were used to remove the baby from the womb but that may have caused complications and medical professionals decided to execute a C-section, Lewis related. In addition, he said that a post mortem was expected to be done yesterday on his niece at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) but that was not done because the N/A Hospital had not sent her chart. The N/A Hospital instead requested to have Lewis-Sahadeo’s body be brought back to Berbice for the autopsy to be done. But the relatives were skeptical of such a move and decided to protest against it. They have since expressed their desire to have Dr. Nehaul Singh carry out the autopsy at the GPHC.
Lewis disclosed that the team which was sent to conduct the investigation comprised of Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo, Director General at the Ministry of Health; David Armogan, Region Six Chairman; Dr. Veersammy Ramayya and the REO of Region Six. He stated that they paid a visit to Lewis-Sahadeo’s parents on Sunday.
Lewis is optimistic that proper action will be taken against those responsible for the death of his niece and her baby. He believes too that the nurses cannot solely be blamed for what occurred but rather the management should be held accountable as well. He even went as far as sharing his conviction that the management of the health services in Region Six should be removed.
According to Lewis, Government officials, including President Irfaan Ali; Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony; and the Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, have since reached out to him and the family and have gave their assurance that the matter will be properly investigated.
The 32-year-old, Vanessa Lewis-Sahadeo, of Lot 19, 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Corentyne, had reportedly developed complications and was sent to the GPHC, where she died. Hours earlier her baby girl was pronounced dead at the N/A Hospital.
On Friday, February 26, 2021, Lewis-Sahadeo spoke with her mother, Claris Cecil, on the phone and told her that she was about to be taken into the labour room to be given drips (Saline). She had stated then too that the doctors and nurses had checked her pressure and it was normal. Lewis-Sahadeo was experiencing low pressure when she was admitted, but the doctors had given Cecil a prescription to purchase the medication for Lewis-Sahadeo to use.
At just around 14:00 hrs., Cecil said she received a call from a nurse at the N/A Hospital and was told that her daughter delivered her baby, but the baby is dead and that they had to remove her womb. She immediately informed her husband and he broke down in tears. They got dressed and headed down to the hospital. She said that when they arrived, she saw her daughter on a stretcher and thought she was dead, but the nurses told her that she was not dead but had to be transported to the GPHC and that she needed blood.
“My husband tell dem he does give blood at the hospital and ayuh na get a pint blood to give me daughter. He tell dem he gon give dem blood and dem tell he dem can’t give she blood just like that, dem got to clean the blood,” the woman said. She added that she was then told that an ambulance had to take her daughter to the GPHC, but the ambulance took someone else to Georgetown and they were awaiting its return to transport Lewis-Sahadeo. The ambulance reportedly arrived hours later and Lewis-Sahadeo was transferred to the GPHC. The grieving mother of the dead woman said that she was told that “dem damage up she, dem tek out she womb, dem clamp the baby on she head and tek out the baby and pull out the womb. When dem do that now she start bleed and dem can’t control the bleeding, they run she in theatre.”
Lewis, the uncle, had said that when Lewis-Sahadeo arrived at the GPHC, a team of doctors were waiting to take control of his niece. He said they immediately began to administer blood and oxygen to her and during that time one of the doctors spoke with him.
“They said that she was more than 90 percent wasted and they had given her five percent chance at that time to live. Then they went into the theatre and they asked me to wait. I waited outside after a few hours and then they called me, and I saw the lead consultant, a Portuguese doctor, and he updated me on what happened,” Lewis shared.
He explained that the doctor informed him that when his niece was admitted, based on the information on her chart, her pressure was high and it kept spiking. He said the doctor disclosed that “the pressure increase and it resulted in two things, it ruptured her brain and it ruptured the cord attaching the baby to the mother. That triggered a bleeding and they (at New Amsterdam Hospital) decided to do a C-section, the C-section increased the bleeding.” He was told that it was possible that the baby had already died and the doctors had probably decided to save the life of his niece by removing her womb.
“That didn’t help, and fluid started to flood the chamber and the bleeding increased so they pad it up, clamp it and put a tube in her to drain her, ventilate her and ship her away to Georgetown like a butchered cow,” said the heart broken uncle.
It was around 03:00 hrs. the following day, that he received the call about his niece’s death in the Intensive Care Unit of the GPHC.
Lewis praised the team at the GPHC for their efforts in trying to save his niece, but chastised those at the N/A Hospital for the way they handled her.
“They were very professional, doctors and the (other) medical staff of GPHC must be commended; they did a wonderful job there and they treated us like human beings. But we can’t say the same for New Amsterdam Hospital. That administrator there is arrogant. She treated us like animals and as if we had no right to be there,” he said. The family is still looking to have a private autopsy done on both the baby and Lewis-Sahadeo.
Lewis-Sahadeo leaves to mourn her three children, ages six, nine and 11, along with other relatives.
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