Newborn baby, ‘starved of oxygen’, dies at West Dem. hospital

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By Isanella Patoir

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A baby boy died hours after he was born at the West Demerara Regional Hospital at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara and his mother is accusing the hospital of negligence.

An autopsy report, seen by the News Room, revealed that Simeon Desouza died as a result of perinatal asphyxia, neonatal respiratory distress and multi-organ failure.

Perinatal asphyxia is caused by a lack of oxygen while respiratory distress syndrome (NRDS) happens when a baby’s lungs are not fully developed and cannot provide enough oxygen, causing breathing difficulties.

Kumarie Sankar, a 34-year-old mother of three of Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo, explained that her baby was starved of oxygen for five minutes which led to his death.

During an interview with the News Room on Monday, Sankar said during her prenatal clinic visit, she was referred by a doctor to the hospital due to her high blood pressure.

The referral letter, seen by the News Room, stated that labour should be induced on January 15, even though her due date was not until January 21, 2022.

But Sankar said after she was admitted to the hospital, she was informed by doctors that: “They don’t induce labour on the weekends.”

According to the woman, she was puzzled because she thought her condition was urgent.

Kumarie Sankar

Finally, on January 16, Sankar said doctors began the process of inducing labour by inserting half of a tablet. This, she explained, was to help her dilate and every four hours, healthcare professionals examined her to check the progress.

Sankar explained that during her fourth check-up, she was told that she was not dilating and instead would have to do a caesarean (c-section).

“I said no problem as long as my baby safe and I am safe. That was 12 o clock the night, the doctor said don’t eat or drink anything because I am going in for a c-section in the morning, that was Monday morning,” Sankar explained.

She said they began preparing her for the surgery and requested her to do a COVID test.

“I did the covid test and everything, it came back negative, after that they start put on drips (IV) on me and I asked this is for what and they said to start bring on pain on me.”

The woman claimed that the doctors would increase the fluid in the IV and this resulted in her being unable to breathe and at one point, she said she was unable to see.

“I tell the doctor I am not getting to breathe properly when y’all turn up this thing and they carry me back in the room and monitor the baby heart rate and everything was normal,” Sankar explained.

Sankar said she was later put on saline and when she inquired why, she was told that her baby needed fluid.

Sankar claimed that she was then told she would have to deliver her baby normal since she already delivered three children.

“They carry me on the labour bed and clip the water bag and in the space of five minutes, a midwife nurse come in and she examined me and she said ‘this girl ready’ and she turn and tell me to push, the baby is right there,” Sankar recalled.

Within three pushes, the baby was born but Sankar immediately knew something was wrong.

She recalled the baby did not cry and was not breathing and doctors had to resuscitate him. Sankar said she was told that the child was starved of oxygen for five minutes.

“I don’t know if the hospital had oxygen or not but they didn’t put any oxygen on me or on the baby,” a grieving Sankar said as she explained that doctors told her there would be a 50/50 chance of survival.

She further explained that even if her baby had survived, doctors said he would be in a vegetative state.

The baby boy was later transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital and according to Sankar, no one updated her on his condition even though she asked them repeatedly.

Sankar decided to send her husband to the GPHC where he found the baby boy on life support.

On Tuesday, January 18, the child died but no one told the mother.

“Tuesday morning I got discharged and go straight to Georgetown Hospital, only to go and hear that my baby passed away 12:25 the night,” Sankar said.

Sankar believes that if the doctors had heeded her complaints, her baby would have been alive today.

“I didn’t getting to breathe and the doctor didn’t listen to me because if they had listened and carry me to do a c-section, my baby would have survived.”

The baby would have been her fourth child and third son.

Meanwhile, when contacted by the News Room Regional Health Officer Dr Erica Forte did not wish to comment on the matter.

The News Room was, however, informed by hospital sources that Sankar’s delivery was not high-risk and that doctors suspected the baby was born with congenital abnormalities.

The News Room was also informed that the Ministry of Health has asked for a report on the matter.

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