Beetham mother questions autopsy findings in infant’s death

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Akisha Bains, 30, mourns the loss of her third child little Jerel Bains who died at their Beetham Gardens home on June 13 – Photo by Jeff K. Mayers

AKISHA Bains said her grief has turned into anger and she does not accept the autopsy finding that her six-week-old premature baby died of aspiration pneumonitis and a ventricular septal defect (VSD).

Speaking with Newsday by phone on July 4, Bains questioned the findings, saying, “If that is the case, why did they discharge him from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)?

“He never had any heart condition.”

A VSD is a congenital heart defect characterised by an opening in the wall between the two lower chambers of the heart. It allows oxygen-rich blood to mix with oxygen-poor blood, which can lead to complications.

Bains, of Beetham Gardens, insists her baby did not have the condition. She said her baby, Jerel Bains, was pronounced dead after being taken to the NICU at the Port of Spain General Hospital on the morning of June 13.

Doctors’ attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Around 7 pm, they observed bruises on his chest and reported his death to the police.

Born on May 4, Jerel had been home with his family for two weeks. On the morning of June 13, he was sleeping next to his two siblings and his mother. Around 4 am, relatives heard someone call out for Jerome Williams, Jerel’s father. Only after they responded did the caller identify himself as a police officer.

Bains had just finished feeding Jerel and put him back to sleep, as she wanted to maintain the hospital’s feeding schedule.

The police searched the room where Jerel was sleeping and left around 5 am. Unable to sleep, Bains began doing chores until it was time to get her older son ready for school around 9 am.

When she tried to wake Jerel to feed him, he was unresponsive.

Williams, the child’s father, attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the way to the hospital, which Bains said caused the bruises on his chest.

She said she is discussing her options with her lawyer.

“They couldn’t even give me a time of death. The autopsy listed it as the time we brought him in.”

She said if her son did die from heart-related complications, it was due to being startled, and believes a time of death could help answer her questions.

Bains said police questioned her and Williams, but have not contacted them since.

The family hopes to bury Jerel by next week, but has not set a date.

“I am not accepting this autopsy result. Some things don’t add up for me. My sadness has turned into anger every time I think about that day.”

On July 6, Newsday spoke to acting head of Homicide Snr Supt Sean Dhipaul, who confirmed the autopsy findings.