Sunday 27 September, 2020

Deyalsingh wants TV6 to apologise to Mt Hope Hospital

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh is demanding an apology from TV6 over what he said was an inaccurate and unbalanced story carried on the station's newscast on Thursday and Friday. 

During a media conference at the Ministry of Health on Saturday, Deyalsingh said the story gave the impression that the Mt Hope General Hospital was to blame for a 12-year-old girl becoming brain dead.

The child subsequently died.

TV6 had spoken with the mother of the girl who said she had taken the child to the facility for medical attention for a cancerous brain tumor. 

In the two-part story, the mother claimed the hospital was negligent in treating her daughter, Jasmine, as she was not monitored properly. 

She said a private hospital had inserted a shunt to relieve pressure on the child's brain caused by the tumor.

However she said doctors at Mt Hope told her the device was not working. 

The hospital performed surgery on the child but the mother said she was not comfortable with the look of the wound and took the child back to the hospital where another surgery was performed.

The child was subsequently declared "cognitively dead", according to the TV6 story.

The mother said she was contemplating legal action against the hospital.

However, Deyalsingh disputed the mother's account saying the hospital intervened after the child experienced complications from  brain surgery done at the St Augustine Private Hospital. 

"Jasmine was diagnosed with late stage brain cancer and had undergone several surgical operations attempting to remove a brain tumor prior to presenting at the Pediatric Emergency Department. These included surgeries in St Vincent," Deyalsingh said.

Deyalsingh said there were complications from those surgeries and the child developed an infected wound and the shunt became blocked.

He said the TV6 story gave the impression that these issues developed as a result of actions at the Mt Hope hospital.

However Deyalsingh said the mother initially did not want to give consent for a second surgery to be done to treat the infection and clear the blockage. 

"The mother indicated that she was not ready to sign consent at that time, despite being counselled on the urgent nature of the case. Approval for the emergency surgery was not granted by the mother until later that night and in these cases, time is of the essence."

Once approval was granted, Deyalsingh said the surgery was performed, however the child's condition continued to deteriorate. 

Deyalsingh said the TV6 report carried only one side of the story and it was damaging to the credibility of the public health care sector.

"It is very, very disturbing. The way the story was written, it was never told that there were surgeries in St Vincent and at St Augustine Private Hospital which were not successful. It was never said that the mother refused to sign the consent form. Those are the facts."

Deyalsingh called on TV6 to "do the honorable thing" and apologize to the Mt Hope hospital. 

"The public health sector cannot be the play thing of the media to malign us when it suits them," he said. 

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