Hospital denies that 3-hour delay caused baby’s death

The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) yesterday denied claims by a patient that her baby died in childbirth, because she had to wait more than three hours for caesarian surgery, even as one of the child’s hands dangled from her vagina, asserting instead that the baby was dead before the woman was admitted to hospital.

Sinead Haynes, 20, claims that on the evening of last Thursday she went into labour and subsequently her amniotic sac broke. She then checked herself into the maternity section of the Georgetown Public Hospital, around 8.30 pm, with antenatal clinic card, from the South Road Clinic, in hand.

She said she gave the clinic card to the nurse on duty explaining to her that the said date was given to her for delivery by her clinic. From information given to her by medical personnel at that clinic her baby was in a transverse position with its head not turned downwards into the birthing canal, as such the baby would be born breech. She said after she explained this to the nurse, she was told, “Well you ain’t a doctor so you will have to wait, right?”

The woman said she was taken to the labour room where, after waiting unattended for more than two hours while labour pains became more intense, she began shouting to the nurse “ow nurse de baby coming”. By this time, the woman said, she opened her legs and could feel, and then saw the hand of her baby dangling.  She said she called this to the nurse’s attention and the nurse placed a sanitary pad between her legs touching the baby.

Haynes said the nurse then told her that the baby was coming in a breech position and she would have to undergo emergency caesarean section.

She was subsequently taken to the operating theatre where she claims a further hour plus elapsed before a doctor came and she was attended to.

When Haynes awoke it was Friday morning and she began inquiring about the well-being of her baby. She said she was told by nurses on duty that protocol required all questions pertaining to medical matters to be made to the attending physician.

However, one of the nurses, whom she said became sympathetic as she began to cry, told her ‘off record’ that her baby was a boy and that he had died.

The woman, who was visibly upset, that up to Friday at 5.30 pm, when Stabroek News had visited her no doctor or other personnel from the GPHC had gone to her to explain her current condition or that her child had died.

The woman’s mother Nicola Haynes told Stabroek News that she was not upset as much with the fact that her grandson had died but that information was not forthcoming by the hospital staff. It is because of the delay in relaying information the woman believes that the hospital is hiding something.

“Can you imagine from Thursday to now [Friday evening] that these people ain’t even tell we nothing? Nothing? Nothing? Not dog, cat, nothing,” Nicola Haynes said. “If they had come and say well de baby dead for this reason or duh reason then I woulda say you know the Lord give and take away and there is a reason nothing we could do. But is when they behave like this I begin to think they covering something man. Some of these nurses behave as if they have no feelings. Is not de fuss time dis happening. They have to behave better than this man; is human lives man not animals.”
Meanwhile GPHC yesterday denied the accusations saying that protocol, pre and post delivery, was followed. In addition, the hospital said, Sinead Haynes’ baby was already dead prior to her being admitted to the facility given the fact that the baby’s skin tissue was extremely softened and almost in a decomposing state when delivered.

Speaking with Stabroek News GPHC Public Relations Officer, Alero Proctor, said that information was relayed to the pregnant Haynes by the attending physician. “I personally spoke with the attending doctor who told me that the patient was told that there was no foetal heartbeat and that she was required to undergo C- Section,” the PRO stated.

Proctor added that was within GPHC’s Standard Operational Procedure that patients be advised what surgery they would be undergoing and that consent would have to given before surgery could commence. If in the case of a minor or an unconscious patient the next of kin would perform this role.

In the case of Haynes the hospital stated, “It is noteworthy that the protocol was followed in this case as well and the patient signed the consent form after having the reason and procedure explained to her (she was conscious lucid and fully oriented at that time)

Proctor admitted in the statement that Haynes was taken to the hospital’s labour room at 20:50 hrs; arrived at the theatre at 22:55 hrs – 2 hours and 5 minutes later “after routine tests were done and her preparation for surgery, which is usually no fewer than 30 minutes”; and at 23:18 hrs “a macerated still-birth baby boy was extracted from the patient (within 1hr 3mins of her arrival at the theatre).

The hospital’s statement went on to say that “before the surgery the patient was told that there was no foetal heart and other findings by the physician. Moreover, the patient had told the staff that she did not feel foetal movement for a few days prior to her admission.”

The GPHC says that all information given on Haynes can be corroborated by her medical charts.

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