Woman blames UHWI after her baby suffered cardiac arrests

A St Catherine mother is claiming that her five-month-old son suffered two cardiac arrests because the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) dropped the ball with his treatment.

According to Regina Bell, her son Caleb suffered the cardiac arrests on Mother’s Day after a tracheostomy tube, which assists with breathing, was dislodged.

“The baby had two cardiac arrests at that time… The physiotherapist at the time didn’t realise that the tube came out of the baby and she was there doing what she was doing. The nurse ran and got help and that put the baby in a next cardiac arrest,” the distraught mother said.

The medical report obtained by the Jamaica Observer confirmed that the baby also suffered seizures following the cardiac arrests.

Bell said the doctors told her that Caleb “may have suffered some damage to the brain, lungs and kidney. The consultant at the time, because of quick thinking, put him on ice and they said that it would slow down the metabolism that can slow down any damage”.

The Observer‘s attempts to get a response from the hospital were unsuccessful.

Bell said from the moment she delivered the baby she had been dissatisfied with the service because nurses, though suspecting that the baby had passed stool inside the amniotic sac, waited hours before performing the emergency caesarean section she had requested.

“The nurse examine me and said it look like the baby passed stool. She got a second opinion and the second opinion said ‘No, the baby don’t pass any stool’. I was admitted and the [next] morning a nurse came and she decided that she was going to assist me, so she ruptured the [amniotic] membrane and then she confirmed that the baby had in fact passed stool. They were changing over so another team came in to attend to me, so I said to the next team, ‘Can I get an emergency C-section?’ They said no, they are going to induce me.

“I think about 10:00 am they decided to induce me. I just couldn’t move from five centimetres dilated. At about 7:00 pm they decide to do the C-section. They took out the baby, and I never hear any crying; they were resuscitating the baby. Then I heard the baby cry twice softly, and they took him away. I asked them what’s happening and nobody said anything to me,” the 29-year-old mother told the Observer.

Trying to hold back tears, Bell said, “The following morning I went to look for the baby, and the baby was intubated. He had in an endotracheal tube and he was connected to a CPAP machine. They said that they’re treating him for Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS).”

MAS refers to breathing problems that a newborn may have when the baby has passed stool in the amniotic fluid during labour or delivery.

In addition, Bell stated that breast milk ended up getting into the baby’s lungs when a nurse tried to feed him through “a tube”.

“They told me that I need to start expressing milk, because the baby was being tube-fed and they had put in a nasogastric tube to feed the baby. Soon as they began feeding the baby they told me that milk got into the baby’s lungs. I’ve asked what caused the aspiration of the milk and they were not able to say,” stated Bell.

Based on the medical report, Caleb was diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome, chronic lung disease, gastroesophageal reflux with recurrent vomiting and bilateral nephrocalcinosis with kidney being small for his age and a wide-range of other medical issues. Caleb’s life was also complicated by multiple episodes of sepsis, presumed sepsis and concerns of aspiration pneumonia.

Bell said after meeting with the doctors four months ago, she had come to the conclusion that they were unable to assist her so she requested that Caleb be transferred to Bustamante Hospital for Children.

She said that the doctors advised her that the children’s hospital had no space and she subsequently requested that the baby be transferred to an overseas hospital.

“I went into a meeting when the baby was four months, and at that time they told me they don’t have a working diagnosis. So they have been treating the baby, symptom after symptom. So I said in the meeting, ‘I appreciate everything that has been done, but I just want help for my baby. He’s fighting and I’d like to have him transferred overseas.’ They said okay,” she explained.

Bell further said she was in communication with an overseas hospital which requested the baby’s most recent medical report and it had taken a month to be completed and sent.

In an e-mail addressed to the hospital, Bell said, “I am intimidated by some of the staff there. No one is able to reassure me of anything and those who are trying, their efforts seem to be wasting.”


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