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The doctor who performed the Caesarean-section surgery on Quelly Ann Cottle, which resulted in her baby boy’s head being cut from ear to ear, instantly killing him, has been suspended with immediate effect from the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital pending an investigation. Cottle, 38, went to the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital last Saturday to have a Caesarean-section operation done after being transferred from the Sangre Grande District Hospital.
The North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) board decided to suspend the doctor around 1 pm yesterday and also instructed him to co-operate fully in the probe, hospital sources said. The suspension was done in accordance with the regional health authorities’ terms and conditions, which stipulate suspension with basic pay, ranging between $12,000 and $14,000. The doctor was suspended to ensure the investigation was fair and transparent.
The T&T Guardian understands questions have been raised over why the surgery was deemed necessary when it was reported the baby was already in position to be delivered naturally. Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan confirmed yesterday that a full probe had already begun, adding there were preliminary findings which raised serious concerns and adding that the matter must not be swept under the carpet.
“We will be putting together a comprehensive and independent team which would comprise not only doctors and nurses, but executives from the various areas. I have to deal with this issue in a very serious manner,” Khan said.
When contacted yesterday, Mohammed agreed with Khan that the preliminary report raised a significant number of questions and concerns. She said it was discussed by management, senior clinical management and the health ministry. Asked how many medical personnel would be questioned, Mohammed said between 20 and 25, all of whom attended to Cottle from the time she was admitted to being discharged.
“Basically there were three units involved. There was the Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit, which comprised one consultant, one registrar, two house officers and two interns. There was the anaesthetic team, of a similar composition, as well as nurses in the neonatal ward, the operating theatre and the postnatal ward. “These are the people involved in the management of the patient. We are, however, not saying that they are guilty,” Mohammed said.
She said the hospital administration had offered counselling to Cottle’s family and also to the doctor in question. “An employee assistance programme has also been made available to the doctor,” Mohammed said.
•Laceration to right parietal lobe of brain
•Penetrating injury to right parietal bone
•Iatrogenic laceration to scalp
Clinical pathologist Dr Chunilal Ramjit did the autopsy.