GPH denies blame in death of 12lb newborn

In the wake of a mother blaming negligence and procrastination by doctors and nurses as the cause of her 12-pound newborn’s death, the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) yesterday denied culpability.

“Management… will categorically state that no protocols were breached with the management and treatment of this patient or her infant… The hospital will not accept unnecessary blame,” the GPH said in a statement yesterday.

Vonette Husler’s baby is the latest in a recent spate of deaths of mothers and newborns. So far this year, nine maternal deaths have been recorded and 41 stillbirths.

On Thursday, Husler, 39, of East La Penitence, Georgetown, a mother of one, told Stabroek News that even after alerting nurses that she was in labour for three days and could feel her baby “bearing down,” she was told by nurses that “you ain’t ready yet.”

Husler, who said she had alerted nurses of the fact that she had previously delivered via Caesarean-section, added that it was only after she began haemorrhaging that she was whisked into emergency caesarean surgery. She later delivered a 12-pound infant son, who lived for a few hours. She was told later by doctors that he had succumbed due to respiratory failure.

The GPH statement said that when Husler was admitted to the institution, on referral by the Campbellville Heath Centre where she was receiving ante natal care, she “was not in any state of emergency.” Further, it said, “it was explained to the patient by both doctors and nurses that symptoms that she was experiencing were relative to her condition.” It added that the woman experienced “a sudden abruption of which there was no prior sign and reportedly could not have been predicted by any physician, for… both mother and foetus were recorded as being well.” Husler said she had indicated to nurses that she had a prior caesarean section and had been told by doctors that more than likely she would need another one, but was made to wait for normal delivery only to have to undergo an emergency C-Section and deliver the 12-pound baby.

However, the hospital defended the medical staff’s actions. It said, “Obstetricians have highlighted that it does not always follow to have a caesarian section done because a patient would have had one done before. There was a risk with either option, [and] physicians must concur and perform that which is less risky.”

The hospital informed that a post-mortem examination would be performed on the baby next week and should determine the cause of death. However, it noted that the baby was in poor health after delivery.

However a prominent city obstetrician, who asked not to be named, told Stabroek News, “If the mother was in labour for that long time it is obvious that the baby would have been in distress. To say that the baby was born sick is absolutely ludicrous because his health was directly related to the events of labour. They themselves say that both mother and foetus were recorded as being well when she was admitted. What then happened?”

Meanwhile, GPH said that as a means of enhancing service and boosting obstetrics and gynaecological care, it has introduced a number of indicatives and programmes. These include the introduction of the Masters Degree in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the training of ultrasound technicians, and commissioning of a theatre in the maternity unit among others.

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