NWRHA wants to avoid ‘expensive litigation’ in wake of 8 NICU deaths

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The main entrance to the Port of Spain General Hospital where bactarial infections claimed the lives of at least eight babies at the hospital’s Neonatal Intensic Care Unit. FILE PHOTOS –

Attorneys for the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) have assured that the authority is prioritising investigations into the death of several babies of neonatal sepsis (an infection caused by bacteria) while they were warded at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Port of Spain General Hospital.

It also hopes to avoid “unnecessary expensive litigation.”

The NWRHA’s position was set out by its attorney Alana Bissessar of the firm Pollonais, Blanc, de la Bastide and Jacelon, in a letter on April 16, to attorneys for the babies’ families.

She said the NWRHA, as a responsible public health provider, has been and remains extremely concerned about this situation, deeply saddened by the deaths and is cognisant of the emotional effect on all involved. She said the authority has prioritised the matter and was committed to expeditiously investigating what happened.

“Since this unfortunate incident occurred our client has been engaging in a compassionate, timely, fair and reasonable manner with the parents of these babies.”

On April 16, Bissessar wrote to attorneys for the seven families who have already signalled their intention “to file an unprecedented class action claim for medical negligence based on the mass death of seven innocent babies.”

Bissessar disclosed that the NWRHA’s medical records were not electronically stored so the authority was in the process of photocopying and scanning them, to send to the families “within a short space of time.”

Lawyers for the families, led by Anand Ramlogan, SC, and his Freedom Law firm, have asked for the complete medical records of eight families whose babies died at the NICU.

Bissessar also said a response to Freedom Law’s numerous allegations and requests set out in the previous pre-action protocol letters will also be provided in “the shortest time reasonable” since the process of taking instructions had started and to prevent “unnecessary expensive litigation.”

In response to Freedom Law’s assertion that the NWRHA makes no contact with the families in the absence of their legal representatives, Bissessar said all discussions on legal issues will be canvassed through respective law firms.

However, she said, “Our client’s medical social work officers who have been diligently communicating with the parents since the occurrence of this unfortunate incident to provide much-needed emotional support and assistance will continue to so do and we trust that you have no objection to this continued assistance.”