Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 28th 2015 Contents A7
Saturday, March 28, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A private medical institution and a spe-
cialist doctor have been ordered to pay over
$18 million in compensation to former
finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira for
their alleged negligence leading to her hus-
band s death after a prostate operation in
Nunez-Tesheira yesterday won quite pos-
sibly the highest ever payout in a medical
negligence case in T&T s history at the con-
clusion of an over decade-long legal battle
with Gulf View Medical Centre and anaes-
thesiologist Dr Crisen Roopchand.
Although she scored the major legal victory
after overcoming numerous hurdles, includ-
ing the dismissal of the lawsuit at a prelim-
inary stage, Nunez-Tesheira will have to wait
some time before she can claim the signif-
icant sum, as both the institution and doctor
have indicated their intention to appeal.
An emotional Nunez-Tesheira repeatedly
broke down in tears, and had to be comforted
by her two children, as High Court Judge
Vasheist Kokaram read excerpts of his 91-
page judgment in a small courtroom at the
Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain.
Speaking afterwards, Nunez-Tesheira, cur-
rently a university lecturer, said her family
was happy and relieved to finally get closure
in the death of her husband, former Clico
insurance executive Russell Tesheira.
"There is just a sense of relief that this
has come to an end. Although there is a
possibility of an appeal, it is a happy day
and I am going to enjoy it," Nunez-Tesheira
In his analysis of the case, Kokaram iden-
tified Gulf View and Roopchand s lawyers
decision not to adduce their own evidence
as a significant reason why their defence
failed. He said as a result of the tactical
manoeuvre, he was only able to assess the
evidence of Nunez-Tesheira s witnesses in
determining the case, as lawyers for Gulf
View and Roopchand were unable to discredit
"Despite the rigorous cross-examination,
their scientific knowledge was not questioned
and they have sufficiently set out a reasonable
body of medical opinion which suggests on
a balance of probability that there was neg-
ligence on the part of both Gulf View and
Dr Roopchand in the pre-operative and post-
operative care of Mr Tesheira," Kokaram said.
As he left the court, an infuriated Roopc-
hand criticised the judgment, as he suggested
Kokaram over-stated the effect of the legal
decision taken by Gulf View s renowned
British medical negligence lawyer Mary
O Rourke, QC, who opted to make a no-
case submission at the end of a week-long
trial in December last year.
"Granted we chose to not say anything
on the advice of our foreign attorneys, but
this judge should seriously take a second
look at this case," Roopchand said in a brief
interview before he was led away by his team
of local lawyers.
As he spoke generally of the role of neg-
ligence lawsuits in ensuring proper medical
care for patients, Kokaram acknowledged
that doctors were expected to perform
"superhuman procedures and miracles" even
in risky situations.
"Doctors faced with emergencies ordinarily
will try their best to redeem the patient.
However, they must, where it is within their
power to do so, make reasonable attempts
to prevent such emergencies from occurring
in the first place," Kokaram said, as he sug-
gested his judgment should not serve as a
mental impediment to doctors when called
upon to make "life and death decisions" in
Kokaram also criticised the defendants
apparent lack of regret as shown by the
allegedly "cold and unhelpful responses"
Nunez-Tesheira received shortly after her
husband s death.
Nunez-Tesheira was represented by Dou-
glas Mendes, SC, Simon de la Bastide and
Marcelle Ferdinand. Gulf View s legal team
included Anand Beharrylal and Winston
Seenath, while Roger Kawalsingh and Ravi
Mungalsingh appeared for Roopchand.
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal yes-
terday said tenants owed the Housing Devel-
opment Corporation $300 million in rental
arrears and he called on them to pay up so the
housing needs of thousands of other citizens
could be met.
After handing a group of new homeowners
their keys at the HDC s Regional Office in San
Fernando, Moonilal told them that tenants in
arrears were preventing people like themselves
from owning homes. He said people were of the
opinion that it was government housing and
therefore it was free, but his Government wanted
to discourage that kind of attitude.
"That is not the message we want to send,"
Moonilal called on the new homeowners to be
considerate of their neighbours and community
and not let it be transformed into a ghetto. He
told them to utilise the community centres to
establish homework centres for their children
and to assist in reducing the scourge of crime
and delinquency. He also said in the next week
100 houses would be delivered to people with
disabilities in San Fernando.
HDC chairman Rabindra Moonan said the out-
standing rentals could have been invested to pro-
vide between 300 and 1,000 houses to meet the
intense demand for public housing. He blamed
the delinquency in the HDC to a lack of planning
and past mismanagement.
He referred to a delinquent tenant in San Fer-
nando who was supposed to pay $100 a month
in rent but was more than 132 months in arrears.
"This week we saw that the HDC is in arrears
for mortgages of $291 million. That would have
been 300 more houses or probably 1,000 more,"
He said this kind of delinquency came about
"because under the last administration, there
were no systems, there were no structures. People
were led to believe once you go into an HDC
house it was free, so they were under no com-
punction to pay."
Moonan said to date the HDC had distributed
Lawsuit over husband's post-surgery death...
$18 million ruling
owe $300m in
Tobago police are investigating the cir-
cumstances surrounding a daylight robbery
at the Silver Dollar Casino at the Shirvan
Plaza, Mt Pleasant, yesterday.
According to police reports, Silver Dollar
general manager Biswajit Bakshi said he was
called by his assistant around 11 am,and
told that there was a robbery.
Police said an armed bandit wearing a
mask reportedly pushed past a woman who
had just arrived for a job interview. The
gunman ordered the assistant manager to
open the safe and then cleaned out the safe
of some $500,000 in cash and cheques and
escaped in a waiting vehicle.
A police source said the incident was
caught on internal and external CCTV cam-
eras and an arrest is imminent, since the
man is known to them.
Insurance executive Russell Tesheira
died at age 54 after undergoing an
operation for transurethral resectioning of
the prostate at the Gulf View Medical
Centre on April 13, 2004.
During the procedure an instrument is
inserted into the patient's urethra to
remove the section of the prostate that is
blocking urine flow. Two hours after the
procedure, Tesheira was found to be
bleeding excessively, prompting doctors to
perform a secondary operation and
emergency blood transfusion. Tesheira
died on the operating table.
Six years later his widow, Karen Nunez-
Tesheira, filed the lawsuit claiming her
husband died because the hospital and
the two doctors who did the procedure---
anaesthesiologist Dr Crisen Jendra
Roopchand and urologist Dr Lester
In 2011, Justice Vasheist Kokaram
dismissed the lawsuit at a preliminary
stage after Nunez-Tesheira failed to meet
two successive deadlines he set for filing
her evidence against the three parties.
While appealing the decision, Nunez-
Tesheira came to an agreement with
Goetz which saw him being removed from
the lawsuit. Nunez-Tesheira eventually
won in the Court of Appeal and the
lawsuit was reinstated.
In assessing compensation for
Tesheira's family, Kokaram considered the
salary and benefits he would have accrued
if he had continued to work at Clico,
where his last bonus before his death was
almost $4 million.
The effect of government's bailout of
the cash-strapped insurance giant in 2009
did not have much bearing on the
assessment, as Kokaram said he would
have attained retirement age by then.
ABOUT THE CASE
Former finance minister Karen Nunez-
Tesheira walks out of the Hall of Justice,
Port-of-Spain, yesterday, after winning her
case against Gulf View Medical.
Cops: Casino bandit's arrest imminent
Links Archive March 27th 2015 March 29th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page