Judge: SWRHA must pay

Bhagwantee Singh, right, is congratulated by attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC outside the San Fernando High court. Bhagwantee won a lawsuit against the SWRHA over the death of her son Navin Singh. -
Bhagwantee Singh, right, is congratulated by attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC outside the San Fernando High court. Bhagwantee won a lawsuit against the SWRHA over the death of her son Navin Singh. -

A MAN who was dying painfully and slowly from a flesh-eating bug was instead treated by doctors for a nerve problem. Navin Singh, 35, died in 2014 and on Friday, his mother won a lawsuit against the South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) with a judge finding the doctors guilty of negligence and awarding damages.

Singh's mother, Bhagwantee, 65, of Gajadhar Lands, Princes Town, took her son to the Princes Town District Health Facility (PTDHF) on October 25, 2014, for vomiting and severe pain in the right knee.

Doctors diagnosed him with sciatica. It is paralysis of a nerve in the muscle and a patient with such, is treated for a sciatic nerve injury. The sensations below the knee, except in certain specific areas, are impaired.

But a bug was eating into Singh's flesh and he was knocking on death's door. Singh was in fact suffering from necrotising fascitis.

In a lawsuit for medical negligence against SWRHA, the mother testified before Justice Avason Quinlan-Davidson, that she took her son a second time to the hospital and doctors again misdiagnosed him. Doctors prescribed tramadol, gravol and zantac, she said.

She said that her son continued to suffer severe pain in the knee and vomited constantly. She testified that after the first visit to PTDHF, her son's condition worsened.

From their home, she said, she and her husband had to lift their son from his bed and carry him to the vehicle because he could not walk. "He could not stand or move, " Bhagwantee said. His knee was discoloured and had black spots.

Singh was taken to San Fernando General Hospital where he was diagnosed with having been infected with a flesh-eating bug. Doctors removed large pieces of flesh in a bid to save his life but he succumbed less than 48 hours later.

Ramlogan submitted that critical blood tests were not done on Singh despite his rapid deterioration. The first-call doctors did not seek consultation of senior doctors to further review him for a second opinion. They proceeded to send Singh back home with the same medication.

Quinlan-Williams heard via video link, the evidence of Dr David Mayer who is associate professor of clinical surgery at New York Medical College. He said that doctors here failed to perform basic blood tests that could have alerted them that there was bacterial infection which would have led to early detection of necrotising fascitis.

The judge, in an oral ruling, accepted the evidence as well, of professor Vijay Narayansingh, who in testifying as a professional witness, said that had an earlier diagnosis made, proper treatment could have been administered that would have saved Singh's life.

The judge found that the SWRHA was negligent and must pay damages which is to be assessed.

The SWRHA was represented by Vijai Deonarine, Marissa Ramsunda, instructed by Krystal Kawal.

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"Judge: SWRHA must pay"

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