Single mother Latoya Moses just wants a happy life for her only son.
This is one of the reasons why she joined him in the eye clinic at the San Fernando General Hospital hoping to get his squint eye, which is commonly referred to as coki-eye corrected.
Instead, her son is now in a worst situation as she alleged a wrong procedure was performed on her then 13-year-old son, leaving him with permanent damage.
During an interview at her attorneys’ office at Lord Street, San Fernando, on Wednesday, Moses broke down in tears.
She explained that she took her son Stephan to the hospital on January 11, 2011, to continue his treatment.
Thomas’s father died when he was five years old.
But, she said there was another patient with the same name as her son, the only difference being that Thomas’s first name was spelt differently, who was also scheduled for an eye procedure on that day.
She explained that her son’s name is spelt Stephan while the other person’s name was spelt Stephon, but the names had the same pronunciation.
Moses claimed a laser surgery for cataract which was carded for the other person was done on her son.
“On entering the nurse handed over to me the medication sheet. She told us the room he will have to go to where he will get his eyes dilated and when he went there we went through the procedure and then we were told to sit and wait by the room for the laser treatment he took a while there before he was attended to.”
After the procedure, she a medical personnel indicated that she was not seeing what she was supposed to after such a procedure.
“She (the medical personnel) get up she went through the file again and she mentioned cataract. At that time we know something was not adding up and then we went into a next room because she talked to her colleagues and they had informed me that Stephon lens was ruptured and we were given a prescription, was told he may or may not develop cataract,” she added.
Moses, 33, said three days later her son complained that he could not see. She took him back to the hospital and they scheduled a surgery for January 19 to replace his ruptured lens with an artificial lens.
However, they put in an artificial lens that was too large in his eye and they then had to do a second surgery in September to rectify that issue.
She said, “Any mother will not be able to cope with something like this. Since this whole ting I just feel like a failing mother, someone who couldn’t protect her child and if I couldn’t do something simple as this I don’t think I cud do any better.
“I want to make it clear I not condemning anybody but something like this it made me realise that even if you think someone is qualified and knows what they are doing you could still ask a question. You have all rights to do so. For me I had failed to do that and now my son is in a position where I am not sure that I would get the support that I need just by coming here today. These are things that I’m afraid to go back to the hospital because I have to put myself through this to get attention and it is unfair to us. I just want my son to have a normal life again.”
However, Moses does not have the money to seek private medical care for her son. While he is no longer in pain, she said may have to undergo another surgery as a fibrous growth has now developed in his eye and he may also have to wear glasses.
Thomas’s outside activities are also limited as he is affected by the glare of the sun. To compound matters, Moses had to make the difficult decision to take away his dog as the doctor had advised him that dust, animal fur or even his hands could cause an infection.
Noting that he was very close to his dog, she said her son’s dog Blacky was his only friend.
“He even tell me he will never forgive me because of that,” she said.
Thomas complained that his life is not the same.
The Form One student said, “My experience it was painful and normal at the same time. I would get pain. Before I used to go outside play, do what I wanted to do. I could have done all kind of things but now I can’t because of my eye…Normally most of the time I would cry because won’t get to see my dog. It was the only friend I could have had because I don’t really used to play with children.”
Through their attorneys Prakash Ramadhar and Ted Roopnarine, they sent a pre-action protocol letter to the South West Regional Health Authority on December 17, but to date they have received no response.
Ramadhar said, “We are not here to cast blame as much as to find a solution for him. One of the most valuable things for anyone would be their eyesight and as he continues to get care we have as his lawyers, have to ensure that all his rights are protected and whatever benefits he could get in looking after himself into the future are made available by the state in this matter.”
Meanwhile, Roopnarine said their claim for compensation will be decided as his treatment progresses because they are not certain what his further treatment would entail. He added that the hospital ought to have know that there were two people with similar names seeking treatment on that day and they ought to have taken particular care that it was correct procedure for the correct patient. Roopnarine added, “In those circumstances as far we are concern there is absolutely no defence to this, no excuse, no explanation whereby a proper record was not kept and the correct treatment was given to this young man, especially having regard to the fact that at the time he was 13 years old.”
The attorneys intend to request Thomas’s medical files through a Freedom of Information Act application
Meanwhile, the SWRHA indicated that they have no record of the pre-action protocol letter but they will reach out to the family’s attorney to obtain a copy.