Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 1st 2015 Contents A5
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In a dramatic new twist to the
Sharlene Kowlessar C-section
tragedy, two families are now
fiercely wrangling over her new-
born baby Issac.
Kowlessar died 24 days after she
gave birth to Issac at the San Fer-
nando General Hospital.
But a drama for custody unfolded
during an emotional funeral service
for Kowlessar at her Mc Bean Village,
Couva, home yesterday.
Officiating minister, Rev Michael
Grant, of the Mc Bean Open Bible
Church, brought it out into the open
when he loudly appealed to the
"daddy," previously unmentioned in
media reports about Kowlessar, to
"man up" and accept responsibility
"Daddy!" Grant shouted during
"There is a child left behind. Man
up and step up to your responsibil-
ities. If he s here..."
Before Grant could finish, a dread-
locked 38-year old Wayne Berkley
stepped out from the small group
"Me and Sharlene deal for eight
years and she get pregnant. That s
my child," he said, addressing the
Berkley said he and Kowlessar had
a good relationship, adding, "I love
Grant, at a loss for words, said,
"The family needs to strategise to
raise that child."
Shortly after, Berkley s mother,
Josephine Berkley, walked up to the
podium singing a hymn. Pledging
to maintain baby Issac, she said he
was a miracle child.
Josephine said Berkley was in an
accident and three doctors had told
him he would never have children.
"When I watch my grandson
(Issac), I see my son."
Kowlessar s relatives wore unsmil-
ing expressions as she spoke, but
Josephine added, "He has two fam-
ilies. If we could get together..."
Rev Grant, again, seemed at a loss
"Of course, the logistics (of caring
for the baby) has to be worked out
with the families."
The drama did not end there,
however. Mourners were asked to
talk about their relationship with
Kowlessar. Her only brother, Robert,
teary-eyed, stepped up.
"My sister is a boss. I love she.
And the baby not going nowhere,"
he said, abruptly walking away.
Rev Grant said, "I will not try to
interpret that parable."
Josephine later told the T&T
Guardian her son was grieving and
he wanted his child.
"I told him to go and get some
advice from Ian Alleyne but we really
don t want no court case or trou-
She said Berkley would register
Issac in his name, but for the sake
of peace, love and unity he would
let Kowlessar s family keep him and
he would have him on the week-
"I am a pensioner and every
month I will buy milk, pampers,
whatever he needs and drop it for
them. I told Wayne to give them a
little $500 every month."
Josephine added, "When every-
thing is okay, we will sit down and
talk with the family.
"God is in control and if He say
no, is no. If He say yes, is yes."
Feud at dead mom's funeral
Families fight for
Wayne Berkley views the casket of Sharlene Kowlessar at her funeral
service yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Kowlessar was much loved by
relatives, friends and co-workers at
ANSA Chemicals, where she was
employed, and they wept openly
during the service.
She was described as a woman of
great faith in Jesus Christ, a true
friend and someone who was always
giving of herself and finances to
anyone in need.
Her 16-year-old daughter Sarah,
her number one priority relatives
said, wailed when she saw her
mother lying in the casket.
Kowlessar's sister, Deanne
Matamoro, between sobs, said they
were not satisfied with the reasons
given for her death.
An autopsy said she died from
pulmonary embolism as a result of
deep vein thrombosis.
"I know it could have been her
time to go but proper care was not
given to her (at the hospital after
"Her life was snatched away. It's
time for somebody to do something
and for somebody to be held
accountable," Matamoro said.
The family said for 24 days after
her C-section, they were forced to
keep rushing Kowlessar to the
hospital because she was bleeding
from her womb.
"The doctors kept sending her
Kowlessar's death came even as
health authorities were probing the
death of Keisha Ayres at Mount
Hope Maternity Hospital, also after
giving birth via C-section. (See other
A third mother, Sheriffa Ali, is also
calling for a probe after her son
Saajid died 11 days after his birth at
the San Fernando General Hospital;
she claimed doctors refused to do a
C-section on time.
Saajid died from stress, trauma
and loss of oxygen to the brain
during the C-section which was later
The common-law husband of
first-time mother Keisha Ayres,
who died days after a C-section,
believes authorities are attempt-
ing to sweep alleged negligence
in the post-natal care of his
baby s mother under the car-
On Wednesday, Health Minister
Dr Fuad Khan dismissed allegations
of negligence on the part of hospital
officials in the death of Ayres, 24,
and another mother, Sharlene Kow-
lessar, 35, who died on Saturday
after a C-section procedure at the
San Fernando General Hospital on
March 31. Ayres C-section took
place on April 9.
Khan said autopsies showed that
both mothers suffered from pul-
monary embolism, which, he said,
was one of the most common causes
of sudden death in individuals. He
described the deaths as inevitable.
But yesterday, Ayres husband
Juma Charles said despite the doc-
tors and nurses knowledge that
Ayres was in extreme pain, they
failed to do their best in adminis-
tering medical treatment and care.
"They saw the blood clotting and
they had her on tablets to thin the
blood for three days but still they
sent her home. She vomiting so
much and in so much pain and yet
still, although she complained to
them and I did too, they never took
her on and even attempted to check
her and give her the treatment to
get over this. Instead, they sent her
home to die," Charles said.
He said he was now seeking legal
advice on the issue and intended to
pursue legal action in the matter.
"There are a lot of things that
they (hospital officials) failed to
explain to me. It was like nobody
was really concerned," he said.
Since the T&T Guardian picked
up on Charles and baby Daniel's
story, much love has been
pouring in for them not only
locally but internationally.
So far, people have been
sending pampers, baby wipes,
baby milk and clothes for all his
growing stages, Charles said.
"I am humbled and thank all
those people here in the country
and abroad for their love and
support. At least I feel like I have
the world behind me and my
baby, supporting us through this
horrid time in my life. A woman
has also offered private,
professional counselling for me
free of charge," he said.
He added that no assistance
had been given to him from the
relevant authorities, not even in
the form of counselling.
Grieving C-section victims'
families plan legal action
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