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Baby girl dies one week after South accident
A week after suffering severe head trauma in a car accident, five-month-old Jessica Mohammed died at hospital. As 21-year-old Antonia Beckles-Mohammed went to check on her daughter at the Intensive Care Unit of the San Fernando General Hospital on Sunday, she was given the news that the child was officially brain-dead. Within hours of doing further tests, doctors ”pulled the plug” on the baby, whom relatives described as the family’s favourite.
Jessica was snuggled in her mother’s arms while they were heading to their home at Ramlal Trace, St Francis Village, Erin, on June 2 when tragedy struck. Police said around 9 am, the family, including Jessica’s father Selly Mohammed, 31, was in a Toyota Cressida driven by their friend Mark Ramdass, 27, when he lost control of the car on the SS Erin Road, Santa Flora.
The car collided head-on with a Hiab flatbed truck. So severe was the impact that Jessica slipped from her mother’s arms and crashed into the dashboard before landing between the front seats. Doctors said Jessica suffered a fractured skull which caused a bruise on her brain and the development of fluid in her head.
Beckles-Mohammed suffered a broken nose and a few cuts to the face, while Mohammed, an operater at Pioneer Construction Ltd, has two broken bones in his jaw and a dislocated leg. Ramdass, also of Erin, suffered a broken kneecap and several broken bones in his leg. When Santa Flora police corporals Seecharan and Sobie arrived and saw the unconscious child they rushed her and Beckles-Mohammed to the Siparia Health Centre. Mohammed and Ramdass were also subsequently taken there.
All four were then transferred to the SFGH, where doctors said Jessica remained in a coma until she died. She made everybody laugh
A melancholic mood filled the family’s home yesterday as they reminisced about Jessica’s short life. Beckles-Mohammed said: “She used to laugh with everybody, especially when her grandfather called her name and held her hand, she would laugh and hide her face. When my brother-in-law called her ‘sweetie,’ she would laugh, because she liked everybody.”
Recalling the accident, she said they had just visited a friend in Santa Flora. While returning home they passed a car parked on the roadside and a truck t approaching on the same side as the car pulled into their lane, causing the accident. “I could remember getting up in the car and I picked up my baby and was calling out to anybody to take her and rush her to the hospital. Then a policeman came and took us up and rushed us to Siparia Health Centre.”
Her brother-in-law Kumar Mohammed said before doctors disconnected the life support they showed them a diagram of a healthy infant’s brain and compared it to Jessica’s damaged brain. “They said there was no life in the brain and that it is the brain that controls the body. We asked them if there was anything they could have done but they said once the brain is dead the body will die.” Cpl Seecharan is continuing investigations. Jessica was the fifth infant to die under tragic circumstances in recent times.
Other recent infant deaths:
• Matai Phillip, ten months, found dead in car seat at a Chaguanas daycare centre on June 6.
• Jemimah Agard, five years, drowned in YMCA pool in Port-of-Spain after a swimming class June 2.
• Kriston Gonzales, 23 months, drowned in religious pond at family’s Mayaro home on June 1.
• Javier de Freitas, three years, died in a house fire at his Sea Lots home on May 28.
• Jaedon Cudjoe, 17 months, died of hyperthermia after being forgotten in car for eight hours on May 13.