Family wants justice after first born dies at private hospital

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By Bibi Khatoon

A Good Hope, East Coast Demerara (ECD) family is threatening legal action against a private hospital after their baby died at the hospital’s nursery some 32 hours after she was born.

Twenty-two-year-old Devi Balram lost her first baby on August 06, 2019.

Speaking with the News Room at her Good Hope home, the young mother said, “It’s my first child and I am very very disappointed in that hospital. I had confidence in them…I just need justice for my baby.”

Balram said she joined the clinic in December 2018 and never had any issues.

She was admitted at around 4:00hrs on August 4 and at approximately 08:30hrs, the doctor [name given] clipped the amniotic sac (water bag) and she began to experience contractions.

The baby girl, whom she named Arya, was delivered at 17:25hrs but Balram said when the baby delivered, she was not breathing.

Baby Arya in the incubator at the hospital

The young mother explained that she was struggling to deliver her baby but the nurses kept telling her to push for half of an hour.

“When the baby came out, the baby was blue and was not breathing, they did the alert and whoever came in the room started to pump oxygen to her for about half hour before she made a sound,” Balram said.

She told the News Room that the hospital did not have the appropriate oxygen mask to assist the baby with breathing and therefore an adult mask was used.

Additionally, the nurses told her that the baby’s stomach contained blood and as such they gave her glucose.

Balram further stated that the nurses told her that her baby was experiencing seizures but could not provide details.

The baby was placed in an incubator.

According to the young mother, it was recommended that baby Arya undergo an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or a CT (Computerized Tomography) scan but they were told by the Medical Superintendent that there was no portable device available.

At that time, the baby could not be removed from the nursery since she was in an incubator.

According to the clinic card, the baby was born weighing 2kg, 950 grams and measured 53cm. Under the caption ‘Congenital abnormalities’ which means a disease or physical abnormality present from birth, it said “none discovered.”

On August 06, the baby succumbed in the hospital’s nursery.

Negligence

Balram is accusing the nurses and doctor of negligence, noting that if the nurses were able to get in contact with the doctor and recommended caesarian-section, her baby would be alive today.

She also believes if the hospital was well equipped with the necessary equipment, her baby’s life could have been saved.

According to the death certificate, the baby died from Cardiac Arrest due to severe birth asphyxia, intracranial hemorrhage –a type of bleeding that occurs inside the skull—and upper gastro-intestinal bleeding.

Severe birth asphyxia is caused by decreased oxygen before or during the birth process.

Nandrni Coonjah –Balram’s grandmother –told the News Room that a report was lodged with the Ministry of Public Health since efforts to get answers from the hospital proved futile.

“You pay your money for all of the equipment to be in the hospital and nothing was in place,” the visibly upset woman said.

Coonjah said that prior to the baby’s death, a device was requested to monitor the baby’s seizures but “the Medical Superintendent…she said it is there but you have to have a sound proof room to use it.”

The family plans to lodge a complaint with the Medical Council before suing the private hospital.

Coonjah said other mothers who lost their baby at the same hospital will also join her lawsuit against the private medical institution.

The News Room reached out to the hospital for a comment but was told that the doctor in question is unavailable until Monday since he only works from 6:00hrs to 10:00hrs on Saturdays.

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