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Report on baby Simeon’s death: Discipline doctor

Thursday, June 12, 2014
Cuban nurses look at maps of Trinidad which they received in kits during the Ministry of Health foreign health care professionals orientation at the Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO

The report of the independent committee which investigated the circumstances surrounding the death of infant Simeon Cottle has alluded to negligence by medical practitioners.


It also recommended that the Medical Council of the Medical Board of T&T deal with disciplinary action for the doctor involved.


This was revealed by Health Minister Fuad Khan yesterday as he spoke to reporters following an orientation ceremony for foreign health care professionals working in T&T from this week.


Simeon died on March 1 after his head was sliced open when his mother Quelly Ann Cottle underwent a Caesarean section at Mt Hope Women’s Hospital.


The doctor, Javed Chinnia, who performed the surgery, was suspended with pay.


An independent committee, chaired by retired Justice of Appeal Mustapha Ibrahim and including United Kingdom specialist Dr Melanie Davies and retired neo-natologist Manning-Alleyne, were appointed by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to investigate Simeon’s death.


Khan, who met with the council yesterday, said he had read the recommendations of the report and was looking at implementing them.


He said the recommendation for disciplinary action, however, would need to be carried out by the Medical Council.


“A lot of the recommendations went into neo-natal care and the report suggested that consultants should have a greater presence during deliveries,” Khan said. He hoped the council would be able to set up a tribunal for disciplinary action and have the matter closed as soon as possible and said it might be possible for it to be settled in two weeks. Khan added: “One of the recommendations made was for the council to take action and set up a tribunal.


“They (the report) spoke a little about legal aspects and possibility of medical mishaps and alluded to negligence and medical malpractice based on certain legal opinions.”


He said that negligence would need to be proven in a court of law.


He said once the tribunal was complete, if disciplinary action was decided upon it could vary from anything to the doctor losing his licence to practise but added that the latter was extreme. Khan said the other recommendations coming out of the report were relatively easy to act on. He noted the need for a neo-natologist and other improved systems in the hospitals. Quelly-Ann, Simeon’s mother, said up until yesterday no one had contacted her to giver her any information from the report.


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