Third mother seeks answers after baby dies of infection

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Avinash Chattergoon and Daynelle Samaroo cuddle their baby Aarya before her death on April 5 at the Port of Spain General Hospital. –

Another mother is seeking answers on the death of her baby at the Port of Spain General Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Relatives of the seven babies who died at the NICU between April 4 and 7 have initiated legal action against the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA), citing medical negligence.

So far, attorneys led by former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, have issued two pre-action protocol letters to the NWRHA CEO Anthony Blake.

On April 15, a third was sent.

They all cite medical negligence. Ramlogan and his team represent Shaniya Raymond-Adams, Natasha Samuel, Shaquille Harry, Danyelle Samaroo, Tinelle Saunders, Jodie Molino, and Shirese Moore-Beckles.

On April 13, Ramlogan and attorneys from his Freedom Law Chambers said they propose to file “an unprecedented class action claim for medical negligence based on the mass death of seven innocent babies.”

Monday’s pre-action letter was sent on Samaroo’s behalf over the death of her baby, Aarya Raya Chattergoon.

It said the NWRHA has not acknowledged the previous letters on whether it intended to meet the April 15 deadline to provide the medical records.

“Our clients have expressed grave concern about the integrity of the medical notes and records for the mothers and their babies as they have been requesting same and these documents are yet to be provided to them. “They also said they will not be attending any meeting until they receive answers.

The letter said Samaroo was admitted to the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital on March 22. She was there for two days before she was transferred to the Port of Spain General Hospital because there was no space in the NICU at Mt Hope.

Samaroo was 34 weeks pregnant and went into pre-term labour. She had a caesarean section on March 26, and baby Aarya was placed in the NICU of the PoSGH.

When her parents visited her, the letter said, the baby was stable and active. The parents were also allegedly advised by hospital staff she was healthy and doing well,

On March 29, the letter said blood tests were done and showed no signs of an infection. Baby Aarya was breathing on her own and her parents were told she would be discharged soon.

On April 2, the letter said a doctor told the parents the hospital wanted to do a blood transfusion because the baby was not digesting properly.

The parents were told they would have to buy a blood filter privately, as the hospital had none. They did so and on March 4, the letter said, the transfusion was done and baby Aarya’s parents were told it had been successful and she was doing well. There was also no sign of infection from blood tests done that evening. The letter said Aarya was in a less intensive area of the NICU when her parents saw hospital personnel suddenly wearing gloves and gowns. They were told that had not been the case before.

By 3.41 pm on April 5, the letter said, Samaroo got a phone call telling her Aarya was not doing too well.

Her father, Avinash, saw seven doctors “operating” on the baby when he got to the hospital. When Samaroo eventually got there, she saw her husband holding their baby and crying.

“She then took her baby into her arms, cuddled her, and cried. The smell of blood was on the baby and she also coughed up blood.

“Their baby took her last breath in her mother’s arms at 6.18 pm.

“It was only after baby Aarya had passed away that a doctor informed the parents that she had developed an infection. There was no mention of the cause of the infection and the fact that there was a bacterial infection was discovered…” the letter alleged.

Aarya was the couple’s first child.

Last week, a release from the NWRHA said seven infants 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 (a normal pregnancy is 40 weeks long) 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 preterm babies.”

On April 14, Blake promised full transparency and disclosure to the parents, he told Newsday in a phone interview.

Officials from the NWRHA, including Blake, are expected to meet with the babies’ parents on April 16 and 17.

But the letter said the NWRHA had contacted some of the families to say the meeting had been cancelled.

“This flip-flopping on the part of the NWRHA is ridiculous and unacceptable.

“We wish to make it abundantly clear that we will not be attending any meeting with our clients unless you provide answers to the aforementioned questions we have raised about the nature and purpose of this meeting,” the third pre-action letter said.

Ramlogan and his team have questioned the purpose of the meeting.