Judge dismisses medical negligence case

High Court Judge Kevin Ramcharan
High Court Judge Kevin Ramcharan

A HIGH COURT judge has dismissed a medical negligence case against a nursing home in south Trinidad and one of its doctors brought by the mother of a child who was born with cerebral palsy.

On Friday, Justice Kevin Ramcharan dismissed the lawsuit of a minor, filed by his mother Shelly-Ann Babwah, against Surgi-Med Clinic and Dr Marwan Abdulla.

According to the lawsuit against the hospital, the child, born on May 19, 2002, suffers from a “disorder of the mind” which came about because of the negligence of the hospital and its doctors.

Birth was induced and after the child was born, he was transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital where he was diagnosed with birth asphyxia, stage II hypoxic ishchaemic encepholaopathy, which is brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain, and neonatal seizures.

At ten months, he was diagnosed with “evolving cerebral palsy.” The mother’s lawsuit said, at the age of seven, the child had the developmental age of six to nine months. He did not speak and could not change his clothes, feed himself or brush his teeth.

At age 13, he has limited use of his hands, cannot walk independently and needs 24-hour care.

She said over the years, she has been travelling to the United States for medical treatment for her son since the facilities in TT were limited. The lawsuit said because of the lack of specialised care for cerebral palsy in this country, she planned to migrate to the US with her son and sought compensation for future medical care and treatment. In total, the compensation claim amounted to a little over $1 million.

In the lawsuit, the child’s mother alleged that the private hospital failed to implement and follow guidelines for the induction of labour and monitor her vital signs during delivery.

The case against the doctors was that they failed to adhere to standard practices.

In his ruling delivered on Friday in the San Fernando High Court, Ramcharan held that there was no dispute that the hospital and the doctors owed the mother a duty of care, but this did not lead to the damage suffered by the child.

He dismissed Babwah’s claim and have ordered each side to make submissions on the issue of costs.

Babwah was represented by Dr Michael Powers QC, Rajiv Persad and Ricardo Williams instructed by Niala Narine. Surgi-Med was represented by Benjamin Browne QC, Narad Harrikissoon and Andre Sinannan instructed by Ambika Harrikissoon.

Abdulla was represented by Mary O’Rourke QC, Anand Ramlogan SC, Alvin Pariagsingh and Che Dindial instructed by Jared Jagroo.


"Judge dismisses medical negligence case"

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