GPHC maternal death…Compensation to husband may require legal advice – Health Minister

The original article can be found in: Kaieteur News

The possibility exists that the Ministry of Health could seek the legal advice of Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, in determining whether any compensation should be paid to Nigel Rodney, whose wife died in the Maternity Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) on June 4 last. This is according to Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran, who disclosed that while the investigation of the maternal death is not fully completed, any likelihood of compensation from the Health Ministry will require legal advice from the office of the Attorney General.
Twenty-eight-year-old Luan Rodney, who was admitted at the public hospital on June 3 last to deliver her second child, was pronounced dead the following day and her baby was delivered stillborn.
An ensuing investigation into the death by an Expert Committee has since determined that not only was there negligence on the part of the doctors and nurses attending to the woman but there was also poor management, according to Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud.
Two doctors and two nurses were sent on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, and the Expert Committee, in addition to other recommendations, has decided that the health professionals’ practicing fates be placed in the hands of both the Medical and Nursing Councils.
The Attorney General, who doubles as Minister of Legal Affairs and is therefore tasked with providing legal advice to the Government, in an invited comment to this publication yesterday said that although he has not been approached by anyone within the Ministry, he would be required to offer his advice should such a request be made.
In direct reference to the maternal death of Luan Rodney, he disclosed that he would however not be required to become involved at the level of the GPHC as that facility not only has its own legal personnel but it also has a Board of Directors and a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who together govern its operation.
But according to GPHC’s CEO Mr. Michael Khan, while the determination of compensation will more than likely be a decision to be made by the Expert Committee investigating the death, he is certainly not aware of any such development. In fact, yesterday, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer was unable to call to mind even a single occasion when the hospital was required to pay compensation for a maternal death.
Nevertheless, Nigel Rodney, during a recent interview with this publication, disclosed that although he hadn’t the wherewithal to take legal action against the hospital, he is hopeful that some form of compensation would be granted to him.  “The least they can do now is compensate me for something that happened because of their negligence…”
“My wife went into that hospital looking and feeling good and come out back dead because they couldn’t take the time to give her proper care,” asserted the distraught man. He is also optimistic that his wife’s death would lend to the improvement of service offered at the facility and even help to save a life in the future.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health yesterday disclosed that ardent efforts are being made to prepare young doctors thoroughly to delve adequately into the medical profession. In this regard, he said that about 70 of these doctors yesterday commenced a pedagogy session at the East Coast Demerara Grand Coastal Inn.  The doctors, according to him, are being exposed to areas such as Advanced Labour and Risk Management (ALARM) training as well as complete basic life support, which he noted will be important to their practice.

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