THE Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) has been ordered to compensate the mother of a 17-year-old in the sum of $155,000 for the systemic and administrative failures that led to the teenager’s death in 2010.
In an assessment for damages, Master Martha Alexander also ordered the TRHA to pay the mother’s legal costs in the sum of $34, 642.09.
The teenager’s mother, Arlene Parisienne Seeram, who filed the lawsuit, was represented by Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson and attorney Dawn Palackdharry Singh. The TRHA was represented by Lennox Phillips.
In October 2017, Justice Frank Seepersad found the TRHA culpable in the death of Zach Matthew Seeram who suffered severe internal injuries which had not been detected by doctors at the Scarborough General Hospital when he was admitted for stab wounds.
Seeram died seven days after he was first treated for the stab wounds he received on September 1, 2010, and after returning to the Scarborough General Hospital on three separate occasions during that week.
He died on September 7, 2010 and a post-mortem concluded that he died from stab wounds, two of which caused severe injuries that resulted in his death.
A stab wound to his lower back injured his left diaphragm and his left lung causing a collapse of the lung and a wound to his abdomen penetrated the right diaphragm, liver and kidney.
The injuries had not been discovered by the attending physicians despite Seeram having visited the hospital on the three separate occasions.
He ordered that the teenager’s mother be compensated.
In her assessment, Alexander made an award of $130,000, with interest of 2.5 per cent from August 27,2014 to July 23, for loss years, which, she said, was purely compensatory in nature and aimed to make reparations to the deceased’s estate for the lost portion of their earnings.
“The basic principle followed in this jurisdiction is that a claim for 'lost years' survives for the benefit of the deceased's estate,” she said.
She also gave an award for loss of expectation of life in the sum of $25,000.
In his ruling, Seepersad had said Seeram’s death may have been avoided if his internal injuries were detected.
“The life of one of our nation’s children was lost. We have a responsibility to ensure that such a circumstance never repeats itself,” he said in 2017 when he gave his decision.