Health authorities slam ‘irresponsible’ reporting on dead babies

A joint statement from the Chairman of South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) Philip Armstrong and Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH) Dr Orville Morgan has deemed reports carried elsewhere in the media regarding dead babies at the hospital as “irresponsible, inaccurate and an absolute misrepresentation”.

The statement issued yesterday evening said the media report sought to undermine the integrity of the Ministry of Health, the committee formed to investigate the cluster cases of (GBS) — Group B Streptoccocus related deaths and health care professionals at the Victoria Jubilee.

The media report stated that the official report from the hospital mentioned that eight babies were infected with GBS and four died, when in fact a copy of a report requested of and submitted by VJH officials showed that 26 babies died at the institution between August and September, the period in question.

However, both Armstrong and Dr Morgan said that the committee report, which was issued to the media and posted online, fully disclosed that there were 29 neonatal deaths between the months of August – September 2016. Of the 29 neonatal deaths, four were confirmed to be death by GBS infection. Over the July – September 2016 period, 12 neonates died. Cause of death for the 12 neonates was determined by the medical team as 11 complications of prematurity and one congenital heart disease.
“None of these deaths were confirmed as a result of GBS or conditions within the hospital,” the statement said.

In August 2016 some 11 neonates diedfrom three complications of birth related to no oxygen flow to the brain (three), one was born without a brain and (seven) complications of prematurity. In September 2016 another 18 neonates died from complications directly related to GBS (four), complications of prematurity (10), congenital abnormality (one) and one severe respiratory complications (one), the release said.

The release added that the report issued by the committee established by the Ministry of Health clearly show that while 29 neonates lost their lives between August and September 2016, four were directly related to GBS and not the suggested 26 in the mentioned news item. (Jamaica Observer)

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