Tobago woman loses baby Miracle

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

GRIEF: Tobago mom Shirese Moore-Beckles cradled her baby Crystell Precious Miracle before her death at the Port of Spain General Hospital.

FOR TOBAGO mom Shirese Moore-Beckles, her baby Crytelle Precious Miracle was special.

Moore-Beckles, 36, of Whim, did not plan to have another child, nor did she think she could have any more children, so when she and her husband found out she was pregnant, the couple was elated.

“The baby was, therefore, a living testimony of their faith in the Lord and the love and spiritual connection which the mother shared with her baby, and was overwhelming and joyous,” attorneys representing the security guard said in a pre-action protocol letter on April 14.

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

On April 13, attorneys led by former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, issued a similar letter on behalf of one mother. On April 14, they sent another on behalf of Moore-Beckles.

They said their client’s joy and happiness “has now turned sour and has been converted into a lifetime of unforgettable and unforgivable frustration, depression and hurt.”

The letter said Moore-Beckles felt betrayed by the hospital “because she was deceived and constantly lied to.

“No one had the courage to come clean and tell her that her baby had developed an infection and was in tremendous pain and suffering…”

The letter said Moore-Beckles’ concerns that her baby was in distress and danger were “callously dismissed” by hospital staff, who allegedly told her, “Yuh child premature. Ting does happen!”

The letter said the mother’s horrific experience was “intensified and worsened” by the belated discovery that her baby’s death was not an isolated incident.

Sunday’s letter said the families of the seven dead babies are now trying to piece together “this jigsaw puzzle” to find out what happened.

The Port of Spain General Hospital – Photo by Jeff K. Mayers

The letter again alleged a baby from a private institution was transferred to the Port of Spain General Hospital without the necessary precautions and preventative measures against infection transmission being taken.

Moore-Beckles was first admitted to the Scarborough General Hospital on February 15, after her water bag ruptured. She stayed there for a month until she reached the 26-week term. On March 13, she was transferred by helicopter to the PoSGH. Her husband, Rondell Beckles, had to stay in Tobago to care for their two other children.

The couple agreed to a caesarean section and a tubal ligation after birth. The letter said Moore-Beckles was told to “wait a little longer” as hospital officials said they were “dealing with something.”

“…She placed her trust in the medical team,” the letter said. On April 2, she delivered baby Crystelle Precious Miracle at 27 weeks.

“The baby was active, moving her arms and legs, and crying, indicating good health.” The next day, Moore-Beckles received the “disheartening news” that her baby was “not doing too good.”

She visited the baby daily and the letter said when she observed concerning symptoms, such as blood on the baby’s head or feet, or noticed her vomiting, she was given different explanations.

“Incredibly, at no point in time did any medical personnel inform our client about the possibility of an infection affecting her baby.”

On April 5, a blood transfusion was required because the baby’s blood count was low and the next day, at the NICU unit, she saw men in white hazmat suits while a nurse allegedly said, “Aye, dais a chile mudda. She can’t be here right now. Next ting she blame we. Get she outta here.”

The letter further alleged that Moore-Beckles was repeatedly assured that her baby was doing ok.

However, it said, “…She felt it in her guts and knew that her baby was in distress.”

When she returned to the NICU, she was allegedly told her baby had experienced significant distress the previous night and had to be resuscitated multiple times. She also witnessed one of the attempts, which sent her into a state of panic, the letter said.

Baby Crystelle Precious Miracle died on April 6.

“This baby represented the last opportunity for our client to experience the joys of motherhood, as she had undergone tubal ligation.”

The letter said at the time, Moore-Beckles harboured no ill will against the medical staff at the hospital, as she “genuinely believed” they did their best. Instead, she struggled with her feelings of guilt and self-blame, believing she had contributed to the baby’s illness and death.

On April 9, Moore-Beckles was transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital for evaluation, and it was there she found out about the other deaths at the PoSGH.

“The factual matrix of this case is quite disturbing and jarring. It is an indictment on the level of health care and a powerful reminder and illustration of man’s inhumanity to a woman and her innocent child.”

Also representing the families are Sue Ann Deosaran and Sharon Ramnarine of Freedom Law Chambers.

They are representing Shaniya Raymond-Adams, Natasha Samuel, Shaquille Harry, Danyelle Samaroo, Tinelle Saunders, Jodie Molino and Moore-Beckles.