A private medical institution and a specialist doctor have lost their challenge against a judge’s order that they pay $18 million in compensation to former finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira, over their negligence in her husband’s death, after a prostate operation in 2004.
Three Appeal Court judges yesterday ruled against Gulf View Medical and anaesthesiologist Dr Crisen Jendra Roopchand who both appealed Justice Vasheist Kokaram’s ruling in 2015 that insurance executive Russell Tesheira’s death was caused by their negligence. Kokaram awarded Nunez-Tesheira compensation in the sum of $18,034,722.33.
Tesheira, who was also a footballer, died hours after the operation on April 13, 2004. His widow filed the lawsuit six years later. In an interview after yesterday’s ruling, Nunez-Tesheira said after 13 long years, she is relieved. “It has made me understand what litigants go through,” she said, adding she felt happier after the ruling yesterday than she did after Justice Kokaram’s ruling two years ago.
Nunez-Tesheira, a law lecturer, expects the nursing home and the doctor to appeal to the Privy Council in England, but expects it to be a hard road for them because of the local appellate court’s unanimous ruling. In a 109-page decision, Justices of Appeal Allan Mendonca, Prakash Moosai and Judith Jones said they could not fault Kokaram’s original decision.
After examining the evidence, they too held that on a balance of probabilities, Tesheira’s death was caused by the negligence of Gulf View and Roopchand. Jones, who wrote the decision, said Tesheira’s was not a case of death by excessive bleeding but death as a result of poor management of the bleeding, which led to a fluid overload in his body.
In 2011, Kokaram dismissed the lawsuit at a preliminary stage after Nunez-Tesheira failed to meet two successive deadlines he set for filing of evidence against Gulf View, Roopchand and urologist Dr Lester Goetz. She appealed and the lawsuit was reinstated. While appealing the decision, Nunez-Tesheira came to an agreement with Goetz which saw him being removed from the lawsuit.
Gulf View Medical was represented by British Queen’s Counsel Mary O’Rourke, Anand Beharrylal and Winston Seenath along with Roger Kawalsingh while Ravi Mungalsingh appeared for Roopchand. Nunez-Tesheira was represented by Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, instructed by Marcelle Ferdinand.