Attorneys: Baby died after being denied NICU entry

A view of the Port of Spain General Hospital.  - File photo
A view of the Port of Spain General Hospital. - File photo

Freedom Law Chambers has provided the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) with a list of 21 premature babies who have died at the Port of Spain General Hospital (PoSGH) in the last two years, 17 of whom died in the last four months.

Parents of 14 of these babies have so far sent pre-action protocol letters to the NWRHA.

The information was contained in the latest pre-action letter sent to the NWRHA on behalf of Wendy Bravo, 37, whose daughter Lily-Marie died after just two days.

Unlike the other mothers, Bravo said her daughter was never admitted to the NICU despite being born after just 26 weeks.

Recounting her experience, Bravo said at her last scheduled ultrasound on January 31, she was told her baby showed no significant issues but her placenta was detached from the uterine wall which led to the formation of a blood clot.

She said despite her meticulous calculations that she was 26 weeks pregnant, the doctor insisted the she was 23-24 weeks pregnant.

On February 4, Bravo said she began to bleed and went to the PoSGH where she was warded for observation after an ultrasound and told her situation remained unchanged and the baby was developing properly.

While warded, she began to feel discomfort and passed “sizeable” clots, one as large as her hand.

Bravo said she consistently alerted the medical team of her ongoing bleeding and the passage of the clots but was only examined by doctors hours later and given Endometrin to “boost” the baby owing to the bleeding she was experiencing.

Five days later, Bravo was still passing blood and began experiencing what she thought were “gas pains.”

Concerned her declining placenta would eventually affect the baby’s growth, Bravo said she begged the nurses and doctors to do an ultrasound but was told everything was normal.

Bravo claimed after pleading with nurses, she was taken to an examination room where an intern used a mobile phone light to help the midwife who did a manual exam.

Bravo claimed the midwife was so rough with her during the examination that it caused her to scream.

She returned to her bed feeling violated and soon began to experience excruciating pains.

Bravo was given Panadol and told by an intern that she had to gather her belongings and go downstairs as she was three centimetres dilated.

Bravo said that when she got downstairs an initial attempt at an intravenous tube (IV) insertion failed and had to be repeated.

Bravo said almost immediately after the IV was inserted, she felt as though she had begun giving birth and shouted to the midwife, “Something coming!... Something coming!”

Her concerns were dismissed by a midwife who said she was overreacting and forcibly lowered Bravo’s diaper before saying, “Yuh see yuh see, it have nothing, it's probably a clot.”

When Bravo persisted with her cries, the midwife again forcibly lowered her diaper and upon seeing the baby’s amniotic sac already partially out exclaimed, “Oh s---!”

Lilly Marie Bravo was born still in her amniotic sac and Bravo said she “vividly remembers hearing her baby crying, which continued for hours on end.”

Seconds after giving birth, Bravo was still trying to process the complex emotions she felt when a midwife told her, “Yuh child lungs not developed …it go die in two hours.”

Lily Marie was not placed in the NICU as Bravo said she was told nowhere in TT had the equipment to help her baby.

She claimed no-one examined her baby’s heartbeat or vitals after birth and “effectively abandoned the baby to (her) care without any medical support or intervention.”

Lily Marie survived for two days during which she breastfed, cried and passed stool and urine.

Bravo said she overheard a nurse tell other members of staff, “But allyuh this baby survivin’, she livin’ for over a day. Look she breathing and taking breast, this child supposed to be in NICU.”

On February 11, 2024, Lily-Marie Bravo died in her mother’s arms.

Bravo said she was sent back to the ward without being given time to grieve.

She claimed another patient who raised concerns over Bravo’s mental state was told by a doctor, “Go tell another doctor that.”

Bravo claimed she then suffered an allergic reaction to the antibiotics she was given and developed an extremely high fever.

After complaining of still passing clots, Bravo was examined by a doctor and an intern using a speculum (device used to examine hollow openings in the body).

Bravo claimed the intern was told to remove the speculum after the exam but was unable to operate the instrument and caused her to scream in pain.

Bravo said the incident was listed as a “spontaneous miscarriage” and she was discharged on February 14, and told she would be contacted with details and results on how the baby died.

A doctor called her on February 19, and proposed to meet with her on April 5. Bravo threatened legal action before she received another call a few minutes later and was asked to come in on the next day to receive the results.

She said her baby’s birth was never even registered with the hospital staff “effectively treating the baby as non-existent.”

She said she requested her medical files later in February and had still not received them.

Bravo claims Lily Marie’s chances of survival would have been significantly enhanced if she had received proper medical attention and the requisite care.

The letter pointed to Lily Marie’s “remarkable feat of breathing and displaying signs of activity at just 26 weeks 'gestation.”

It said the potential for Lily-Marie’s survival “was tragically compromised by the lack of timely and adequate medical care.”

The letter was accompanied by videos of Bravo and her daughter as “evidence to demonstrate that the baby was healthy and viable and doing very well.”


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