Cramped neonatal unit ‘infecting’ babies

Weeping for his brain-damaged son Riley, who was taken from his mother’s womb by doctors forceps during an arduous delivery, Randy Jaglal yesterday called for Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh’s intervention, saying babies were at risk in the old San Fernando General hospital.

Jaglal, of Charlo Village, Penal, said his son was suffering from a bacterial infection, which a doctor told him was caused by the unsanitary condition in the neonatal ward in the old hospital building. The distraught father is now calling for the relocation of the neonatal intensive care ward from the old hospital to the new San Fernando Teaching Hospital.

“There are four rooms upstairs and it is the third room where the bacteria is. More than four newborn babies were infected,” Jaglal claimed.

“It is wrong that these children have to go through this. You have a perfect hospital there (San Fernando Teaching Hospital). Why would you put the children in this unsanitary ward?”

Having waited for more than an hour to speak to Deyalsingh during a function yesterday (See other story), Jaglal eventually met with South West Regional Health Authority CEO Gail Miller-Meade, who said she was aware of the problems.

“We are currently addressing all of that,” Miller-Meade said, advising Jaglal to put his complaint in writing so they could address it as well. However, Jaglal told her he had already lodged complaints since January 18 and nobody ever investigated them.

SWRHA chairman Pravind Ramoutar denied the ward was contaminated, but admitted there was limited space at the neonatal unit which opened up the possibility for infections to spread from one baby to the other. But he said this problem was being rectified.

Deyalsingh also said he was aware of the issues at the neonatal ward.

“I visited the site this morning and the space is too small. International regulations say you must have certain distance between the cots so if one baby has an infection it does not transfer to another. We have identified new space to be converted to a neonatal intensive care unit in the same old hospital, so we can have the proper internationally-recommended spacing,” Deyalsingh said.

“All wards will have infections across the world. What we are doing is institutionalising regular deep-cleaning to make sure if a baby comes in with bacterial infection it will not spread. We deep clean the roof, walls and floors so that it does not spread. “

He said this was an issue occurring for 20 years and it was only now the matter is being addressed.

Dad wants probe of son’s delivery

Jaglal also wants an investigation into how his son ended up being brain-damaged.

The child, whom he fondly calls his prince, was born on December 29 after being stuck in his mother’s passageway for six hours. Jaglal said his wife Nazaran Jaikeran, 34, was admitted to hospital on Boxing Day and was four centimetres dilated, but no attempt was ever made to do a caesarian section or induce labour.

“She was just kept there and when the baby started to come they told her she needed to push, but the baby was stuck,” Jaglal revealed.

After five hours, two attempts were made to vacuum the baby out but this failed and a senior doctor was called. That doctor eventually pulled out the baby using forceps.

Jaglal said his wife has been staying in the SFGH since Riley’s birth, as he suffered brain damage because of lack of oxygen to his brain during the birthing process.

Two weeks after he was born, Jaglal said Riley contracted a bacterial infection from the ward which spread to other babies.

Jaglal said blood samples were taken and he was advised to go to a private hospital to do a TORCH screen, which is a group of blood tests to check for several different infections in a newborn, including toxoplasmosis, rubella cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, and HIV. After spending $1,200 for the tests, Jaglal said the hospital told him the tests were not needed and further bloodwork would have to be done and sent to a laboratory in Port-of-Spain.

A report from the radiology department of the SFGH showed also the child suffers from hypoxic brain injury, which occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen.

Jaglal said he wants a thorough investigation into his son’s predicament, saying if labour was induced or a caesarian done, his son could have been born healthy.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Radhica Sookraj)

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