Tuesday 23 July, 2019

NCRHA: Parents encouraged to be with children in hospital

The North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) responded to media reports after a mother said she was prevented from being at her dying daughter's side in 2014. 

In a statement issued Thursday, the NCRHA said it was concerned regarding assumptions made in the report that parents are not allowed to be with their children while receiving treatment. 

The NCRHA added that the event happened more than four years ago.

"With reference to the article published in the Sunday Guardian, March 25, 2018 – Page A12 headlined “A mother’s plea for human compassion at hospitals,” the NCRHA views with great concern that the article referenced an event that happened more than 4 years ago as though it was an event that is current, and routinely happens daily at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex."

"The article makes the assertion that parents are not allowed to support and be with their kids when they are receiving care, that we don’t show compassion nor empathy and “that by telling this story, other parents can be allowed to stay with their children in public hospitals during critical illness."

The NCRHA said it was concerned that the article was published without "updated information" about its policies. 

"The situation today is quite opposite to the environment described in your article, and this is clearly borne out by the photograph accompanying your article, which clearly shows parents accompanying kids at the wards and in the emergency room of the hospital," the Authority said. 

The NCRHA said the policy at the Paediatric Wards and the Paediatric Emergency Department is that at least one parent stays at the bedside of their children 24/7. 

"For the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, parents are allowed to visit between 10am and 7pm and there is always time allotted on a daily basis for detailed briefings with the senior doctors."

"The NCRHA’s focus is on our patients, and we have gone even further as families are also encouraged to bring their children along in the maternity wards, and with the introduction of the Post Natal Home Care Unit (PNHCU) the effort continues to facilitate families staying together for support and to promote healing at their home."

"To tangibly show our commitment to medical best practices in child care, the NCRHA has even reached out to our teachers who supervise our children through our SUNreach program that trains school teachers to be more responsive and prepared in cases of injuries and other emergencies involving kids at school, so the country can feel more confident about the safety of our kids when at school."

"Last year, a record 31 paediatric heart surgeries were performed, together with 22 hypospadias surgeries – all with the parents at their children’s bedside 24/7, – and often in the operating theatre as well. Ophthalmology surgeries have increased by 200 percent and we have virtually eliminated the backlog of hernia cases with our Surgery Sundays Initiative. This was preceded by 51 life changing orthopedic surgeries for hip and knee replacement for our patients in October, 2017."

"This could have been such a powerful and positive story by showing how far we have come since that alleged incident that may have happened years ago, by highlighting the dramatic improvements that have occurred in the system since then, and the resulting advances in the quality of care delivered today."

The NCRHA admitted that there was "some room for improvement" however it said that the article "has attempted to discourage our hard-working staff while promoting fear, reduced confidence and reinforced misinformation for our patients".

"This article was purposely deceptive and failed to meet your stated code of conduct and your commitment to exercise professional and responsible journalism," the Authority said.

The article, entitled "A Mother's Plea" entailed an account by a mother whose daughter suffered from severe cardiac complications and was admitted to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre for treatment.

The woman said her 12-year-old daughter, Zaara, Zaara underwent surgery in Miami but her condition began deteriorating and she returned home and was admitted to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre in 2014.

She said upon arrival, she was barred from entering the hospital room with her daughter, and that her family members were not allowed to sit in the waiting room. 

"My husband begged the nurses to leave me there, just for that first time, as Zaara was in a new environment, and she knows the feel of my hands and the sound of my voice. No was the answer. I begged, pleaded, cried, sobbed to stay, telling them that I had never been away from her since her surgery...I asked if I could stay outside the Unit and check in on her …I was refused."

She said when she returned around 7:00 am the next day, her daughter had passed away. 


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