NCRHA to pay $150,000 to mom after baby dies

Source: , Posted On:   17 November 2022

THE North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) has agreed to pay $150,000 in compensation to a woman whose unborn child died in 2017 after she went to Mt Hope Women’s Hospital to deliver the baby.

A lawsuit was filed against the NCRHA and even though it was expected to proceed to trial before Justice Frank Seepersad on Tuesday, the judge was instead informed that the parties had arrived at an agreement.

Bringing the claim was Jamilah Anne Gonzales, who said officials at the hospital were negligent and that their negligence led to the death of what would have been her first child.

Nonetheless, Gonzales agreed to accept the $150,000 as a full and final settlement of the lawsuit.

In endorsing the agreement, Justice Seepersad said medical negligence death claims were a nuanced area of litigation as the court is called upon to balance the unpredictability of life against the probability of the causative effect of established missteps of the medical treatment effected.

However, he went on to commend the authority for taking the steps that it did in settling the lawsuit.

“In a society where the right course of action is rarely adopted, the position adopted by the defendant is welcomed as it is refreshing,” said the judge.

“A monetary award can never compensate the claimant for the enduring grief to which she has been subjected. However, it is hoped that the authority would effect the required improvements to its monitoring and response processes so as to ensure that effective and efficient treatment is afforded to pregnant women who present with complaints of complications,” Seepersad added.

Gonzales claimed that prior to going to the health institution she never had any medical concerns over the pregnancy and the health of the baby.

She stated that on December 14, 2017, she experienced a vaginal discharge and another three days later.

This resulted in her visiting the Arima Health Centre, since she believed her “waterbag” had burst. During her visit there she was referred to Mt Hope Hospital.

Gonzales claimed she was hospitalised and while doctors informed her they would be inducing labour, the procedure was postponed on two occasions because the birth department there was full and also because of a shortage of staff.

All the while the foetus was alive, she stated.

But on day-three of her stay she then began experiencing more serious discharges, as well as increasing pain in her stomach and abdomen.

After again being examined, a doctor informed her that the baby had died.

“I bawl out, I was in shock and disbelief. I tried to get up from the bed and the doctors held me back and I started crying. I just wanted to go somewhere, anywhere,” she said.

The dead foetus was then removed and she was allowed to see it.

The child’s father, on hearing the news, also suffered a panic attack and had to be taken to Accident and Emergency, she stated.

Gonzales said she was discharged the next day but, while on her way home, she received a call from the doctor informing her she needed to return to the hospital since she was not supposed to be discharged at that time.

A post-mortem by Prof Hubert Daisley concluded the baby died of thrombosis of the umbilical vein and macerated stillbirth. The autopsy report from Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex said death was macerated stillbirth and an infection of the placenta and amniotic fluid.