NWRHA rejects claims of record delays, tampering

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The main Entrance to the Port of Spain General Hospital –

THE North West Regional Authority (NWRHA) has rejected claims from a law firm representing the parents of babies who died in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Port of Spain General Hospital (PosGH) that there was any suppression and/or manipulation of medical records for those babies.

In a statement on April 25, the authority said the claims were made by Freedom Law Chambers,which is representing the parents of the seven babies as well as those of other babies that died in the NICU before April 4 to 9 (when the seven babies died).

The firm is representing the parents of 16 babies that died at the PosGH’s NICU.

The authority said contrary to media reports claiming there have been extensive delays in responding to requests for the 16 babies, no requests were made to it for the medical records of those babies beforef April 12, either from the patients/parents or attorneys acting on their behalf.

“As part of the standard practice at the NWRHA, all requests for medical records are recorded at the time of the request.”

Freedom Law Chambers, the NWRHA continued, first requested the records for the “initial seven neonates on April 12, 2024.”

The authority said there were subsequent requests for additional medical records as the number of proposed claims increased.

By April 23, the NWRHA had provided copies of the medical records for 11 babies which satisfied all requests received to date.

“Receipt of the 11 records was confirmed by Freedom Law Chambers on April 24, 2024.”

Referring to claims from the firm about an undue delay in the release of records for a baby who died in February, the NWRHA said it received a formal request from the firm for those records on April 17 and “these records have been provided as requested.”

The authority added that against this background, there was no 57-day delay between the date of request for the medical records of babies and the date of receipt of receipt of those records, as is being alleged in the public domain.

The NWRHA categorically rejected “any insinuation of manipulation or intentional delay in providing medical records with regard to the concerned neonates.”

The authority said its history of treating with medical negligence matters before the court, “the Judiciary has never found the NWRHA to have tampered or manipulated medical records.”

The NWRHA added that reckless, misleading and speculative accusations suggestive of tampering and/or sanitisation by it are unfounded.

“We urge all parties involved to refrain from spreading misinformation, especially during such a sensitive time. Misguided allegations can only exacerbate the distress surrounding delicate matters. We remain committed to transparency in this matter, and will continue to diligently comply with requests for medical records in accordance with established procedures.”