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T&T: Babies die after bacterial outbreak in hospital

April 14, 2024

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The North-West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) is being sued for medical negligence by the parents of seven babies who died earlier this month as a result of bacterial outbreaks at the Port of Spain General Hospital (PoSGH).

Local media outlets reported on Sunday that a pre-action protocol letter dated April 12 was sent to NWRHA on Saturday, claiming the authority permitted another baby who was suffering from a “serious infection to be admitted without taking the necessary precautions to manage and minimise the risk of infection and transmission to other babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)”.

“We hereby give notice that we intend to file an unprecedented class action claim for medical negligence based on the mass death of seven innocent babies at the Port of Spain General Hospital,” stated the correspondence from Freedom Law Chambers.

“Our clients trusted the PoSGH to provide a competent and reasonable standard of care that would ensure the safe delivery of their babies to their ultimate detriment. They have all been struggling to cope with the devastating news of the tragic deaths that have occurred.”

The deaths occurred between April 4 and April 7.

The law firm, led by Senior Counsel Anand Ramlogan, charged in the letter that seven babies have died as a result of “the sheer medical negligence, incompetence and substandard level of care provided by PoSGH”.

“It is clear that these deaths were quietly swept under the carpet… But for the exposé in the Trinidad Express newspaper and the TV6 news, the public would not have known about these serious incidents.”

There could be additional parties to the class-action lawsuit, as Freedom Law Chambers disclosed that it is still assessing the true impact and scale of the tragedy and several other parents have since contacted them with similar horror stories regarding their experience at the PoSGH and the negligent death of their babies.

“We are therefore in the process of taking the necessary instructions and expressly reserve the right to add further claimants to this class action claim for medical negligence,” the letter said.

The lawyers also want to know the total number of babies that have died at Port of Spain General since the beginning of this year.

In a statement last Thursday night, the NWRHA said laboratory investigations revealed the presence of three different organisms – serratia marcescens, ESBL Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Klebsiella aerogenes – all known to pose significant risks to vulnerable neonates.

“Despite administering high-dose antibiotics and providing advanced and intensive cardio-respiratory support, the infection claimed the lives of some of these preterm babies, all weighing under 1500 grammes and less than 32 weeks gestational age.”

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