3 weeks before 7 NICU deaths — Bacteria claimed another baby

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, who is seeking the legal interests of the parents of eight babies who died of bacterial infections while warded at the Port of Spain General Hospital. –

THREE weeks before the mass deaths at the Port of Spain General Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), announced in early April in which seven babes died, another premature baby died after contracting two bacterial infections in his blood.

Jayden Allister Pierre was only 22 days old when he died.

His mother, Nandaranie Nathoo of Brazil Village, off Arima, gave birth at 29 weeks gestation at the Sangre Grande Hospital on February 22.

On April 16, attorneys led by former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, announced baby Jayden’s death in a pre-action protocol letter.“This baby was not among the seven mentioned in our previous pre-action letters.”

Ramlogan and his team from Freedom Law Chambers are representing the families of the seven babies who died at the NICU between April 4 and 7. They have initiated legal action against the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA).

The other seven mothers are Shaniya Raymond-Adams, Natasha Samuel, Shaquille Harry, Danyelle Samaroo, Tinelle Saunders, Jodie Molino, and Shirese Moore-Beckles. They all cite medical negligence.

Tuesday’s letter – which revealed for the first time the identity of the baby who had died three weeks before the seven NICU deaths – followed a response from an attorney representing the NWRHA.

However, Ramlogan’s letter was critical of the authority’s treatment of his clients.

“The parents were deceived and lied to by the PoSGH. They were told their babies were healthy and doing just fine and no one bothered to mention that they had developed a serious and life-threatening infection,” Ramlogan said.

The letter complained about the failure to provide the babies’ medical notes and records, to the parents, accusing the authority of lacking transparency.

It also made clear that none of the families wanted to communicate with any of the NWRHA’s staff, including medical social workers, out of fear.

“Let us, therefore, make our position abundantly clear: We do not wish that the NWRHA has anything to do with our clients because they simply do not trust the NWRHA.”

The letter said if the NWRHA truly cared, it would provide the medical notes and records and answer questions on the proposed meeting with the authority’s officials on April 16 and 17. Tuesday’s meeting did not take place.

On April 15, in a previous letter, the attorneys made it clear they would not attend any meeting unless the NWRHA addressed the families’ concerns.

Tuesday’s letter added, “The NWRHA would have offered immediate financial assistance to the bereaved mothers so that they can seek private counselling and therapy from psychologists who they are comfortable with.”

The request for financial assistance was also made so the families could hire independent medical experts in infectious diseases.

“This is obviously important because you cannot expect them to trust and accept the investigation that the NWRHA is doing because it is tantamount to investigating themselves…

“For the record, our clients have no faith and confidence in this investigation. They were not consulted about it and will therefore not be part of it unless they are satisfied that proper measures are taken to ensure and safeguard the independence, integrity and transparency of same.

“They also feel that they are entitled to have a voice in the investigative process and would therefore wish the NWRHA to assist them by allowing them to have their own independent expert as part of the investigating team.”

Baby Jayden’s case

After Nathoo gave birth via caesarean section, baby Jayden was transferred to the NICU of the Port of Spain General Hospital (PoSGH).

This was Nathoo and Allister Pierre’s first child. Nathoo had previously suffered a miscarriage, so the birth of her baby boy was a dream.

When she visited her baby at PoSGH, the letter said she was assured the baby was “perfectly healthy.”

The baby’s health progressed and his parents were assured they would be able to take him home once he matured a bit more.

However, the letter said, on March 4, Nathoo was told Jayden’s blood was growing a bacterium and he was being treated with antibiotics.

She was again reassured this was customary for premature babies and there was nothing to worry about.

On March 13, Jayden’s parents were told another type of bacterium was growing in his blood,  his platelets were low and he needed a transfusion. By March 15, the letter said, when Nathoo saw her baby, his entire body was swollen.

“Nandaranie instructs that one nurse then yelled at her, ‘Girl, relax yuhself na!’ Ent we telling yuh dem ting always happening with dem premature babies? We tell yuh already, he just not feeling well today. Gosh man!!!”

On March 16, the mother was told Jayden was fine.

However, later that evening, a doctor told Pierre that Jayden’s health had deteriorated overnight and he was not doing well and was not expected to make it through the night.

When the parents were allowed to see their baby, the letter said, he “appeared swollen and bruised, with discolouration on his hands, feet, face, and forehead.

“Seeing him in such a state, Jayden’s parents struggled to recognise their own child. Every IV access point in their son’s body was leaking blood.” The parents were told by a doctor the baby’s heart was not functioning properly and his condition was not improving.

“The doctor explained that there was nothing more they could do but to pray for him. Nandaranie was distraught. They prayed and prayed for a miracle. However, approximately one hour later, doctors informed them that their baby had passed away.”

Last week, in a statement, the NWRHA said that from April 4-7, staff at the NICU observed “a rapid deterioration in the clinical status of several neonates.”

The release did not identify the number of babies affected, saying only that the premature babies died in four days from a bacterial infection. It said, “Laboratory investigations revealed the presence of three different organisms…all known to pose significant risks to vulnerable neonates.”

The children died from late-onset neonatal sepsis, a condition known for its rapid onset and potentially devastating consequences, said the NWRHA.

All the victims were children who were prematurely born at less than 32 weeks and required intensive care support, the authority said.

It added, “Despite administering high-dose antibiotics and providing advanced and intensive cardio-respiratory support, the infection claimed the lives of some of these pre-term babies.”