Doctor sues health authority for injury

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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A doctor injured by a falling metal beam at the Sangre Grande hospital has sued the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) for negligence.

In her lawsuit, Dr Danielle Timothy, 39, is claiming compensation for loss of earnings, pain and suffering, losses of amenities, earning capacity, future earnings, promotion and the cost of any further medical care.

Timothy suffered ligament injuries to her left wrist and nerve injury to the hand.

She has alleged the ERHA was negligent and breached its statutory duty by failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment.

Timothy is represented by Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam, Saira Lakhan, and Kristian Dass.

When the accident happened, she was a house officer assigned to the paediatric department of the hospital. Sometime in September 2018, as she was closing a sliding door between the neonatal intensive care unit and the ward, the metal track guard above the door fell on her left arm.

Timothy was trapped and had to be helped by an intern.

At the time she was treating a patient and wanted to close the sliding doors to reduce the noise in the ward.

She had to go on periodic injury leave up to March 8, 2020, and her contract was terminated two months after that, in May 2020.

The lawsuit maintains that as her employer, the ERHA was responsible for providing a sufficiently safe working environment to minimise the risk of injury and ensuring, as far as reasonably practicable, there was no unsafe structure at its establishments.

It also said the ERHA had direct statutory duties set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Act and OSH regulations. The lawsuit contends an OSH incident report alleged the track guard was poorly constructed.

In 2019, Timothy had surgery, but after therapy, she was deemed unfit to return to full duties. A recommendation was made for her to do mainly desk work. She is unable to perform basic procedures such as drawing blood or inserting IVs.

“The claimant had ambitions and all intentions of becoming a specialist surgeon which would never be realised.”

Her doctor recommended she readjust her goals and settle for a less physically challenging specialty.

She is now a locum house officer with another RHA and continues to feel pain while performing minor tasks.

“The claimant is unable to perform any surgical procedures. This has caused her to become immensely stressed and worried about the future of her career.”

She was also a former national swimmer, but can no longer train for international events.