Berbice couple lodges complaint with medical council over death of newborn

A Berbice couple who recently lost their newborn child as a result of  what they alleged to be “gross medical negligence” has lodged a complaint with the Medical Council of Guyana and is requesting a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the neo-natal death.

Bibi Girdharry, 29, and Durel Hooper lost their son less than 24 hours after he was born at the New Amsterdam Hospital. At the time of death the newborn was being transferred to the Georgetown Hospital.

The couple’s lawyer Anil Nandlall in addition to lodging the complaint has indicated that he will be writing the New Amsterdam Hospital requesting all of Girdharry’s medical records and thereafter will be filing legal proceedings.

The complaint, which is dated June 27, 2017 and addressed to the Council’s secretary, chronicled the events leading up to the baby’s death. Nandlall advised the Council that his clients could be contacted if additional information is required.

The letter states that on 22nd day of May, 2017 Girdharry who was 41 weeks pregnant was admitted to the New Amsterdam Hospital. On the 23rd day of May, 2017, at or about 11:45 p.m., her water bag broke and she informed a nurse who was on duty.

Bibi Girdharry

According to the letter, at that time, she was dilating at two centimeters and she requested the nurse to take her to the labour room but the nurse refused.

At 6:30 a.m., she was taken to the labour room. At that time, she was dilating at four centimeters and enduring severe pain. At 11 a.m., on the said day, the pain intensified, the letter said adding that she was then dilating at seven centimeters.

“At this point in time, the patient was feeling the baby high in her stomach. At 2 p.m., the patient continues to dilate at 7 centimeters and a green substance started to emit from the patient.

She enquired of the nurse whether this was normal to which the nurse answered in the affirmative. At approximately 12:30 p.m. the following day, there was no change in the situation”, the letter said.

It added that the patient then requested a Caesarean section but a doctor informed the patient that ‘we don’t butcher people’. During all this time, the letter alleged, no one checked for the baby’s heartbeat.

The letter said that at 3:45 p.m., the patient was taken to the theatre where another doctor informed the patient that if anyone asks why a Caesarean section was done, “the patient should say that the baby’s head was too big”. As a result, the caesarean section was then performed. “Upon regaining … consciousness, the patient was informed that the child was `okay’”, he said.

Subsequently, on the 24th day of May, 2017, the letter said that the doctor who performed the caesarean  informed the patient that the baby could not  breathe on his own and that he would  have to be transferred to Georgetown. “En route to Georgetown, the baby stopped breathing”, the letter said adding that on the morning of the 25th day of May, 2017, doctors at GPHC informed the Girdharry for the first time that she had a breathing problem.

It added that at 9:05 a.m., the patient was informed that the baby had died. A post-mortem examination, it stated revealed that the baby had suffered neonatal lung distress and a severe brain edema.

This was Girdharry’s first child.

Director of Health Services, Region Six, Jevaughn Stephens had told Stabroek News that an investigation was conducted which proved that all protocols were followed during the time the woman spent at the hospital, and also during her delivery.

Stephens informed that it is mandatory that an investigation be conducted within 24 hours in relation to any neonatal or maternal deaths.

“It is quite unfortunate that while we would have observed all our medical protocols and all our doctors involved would have done all that was necessary, Ms Girdharry had to be rushed to theatre for emergency surgery.” He had stated that the “Baby was born unstable,” hence he was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital. He said that the investigation proved that, “Doctors at the New Amsterdam Hospital did all that was necessary and they stuck to the hospital protocols.”

He had added that while the regional investigation was concluded, the report would be sent to the Chief Medical Officer, who would then continue the investigation.

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