Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 13th 2014 Contents A6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 13, 2014
DEBRA WANSER and RENUKA SINGH
The probe into the death of baby Simeon
Cottle whose head was sliced open when
his mother underwent a c-section on
March 1 at the Mt Hope Maternity Hospital
did not start last Monday as promised.
But even as the investigation has stalled,
fresh information has added to already seri-
ous concerns over whether the doctors
involved would ever face disciplinary action.
The Sunday Guardian has learned that
the inquiry itself may be ineffective since
there appears to be a conflict of interest
regarding the recent appointment of a senior
official of the University of the West Indies
(UWI) to head the Medical Council, which
is the body that will ultimately arbitrate on
the issue of possible medical negligence.
The Sunday Guardian understands that
UWI s dean at the Faculty of Medical Sci-
ence, Dr Samuel Ramsewak, may be the
person ultimately arbitrating on the findings,
as Cabinet only recently approved his
appointment to sit on the Medical Council.
The deputy dean at the faculty, Dr Har-
iharan Seetharaman, is also secretary of the
It is the Medical Council which has the
final say on any disciplinary action brought
Days after the March 1 incident, UWI
issued a media statement defending its con-
sultant who was rostered for on-call duty
but who was not on the scene, saying "it
is the established practice that an experi-
enced specialist registrar would conduct the
c-section but would have access to advice
and support and, if needed, intervention by
the consultant. Standard practice under the
T&T healthcare system does not require an
on-call consultant to be present at the time
of a c-section being conducted, unless there
is a special need to do so.
"In the case of Ms Quelly Ann Cottle,
the specialist registrar (employed by the
RHA, with no conditions or restrictions to
functioning in this capacity) who undertook
the procedure, is an experienced specialist
registrar in O&G (obstetrics and gynaecology)
who holds the MRCOG---Membership of
the Royal College of Obstetricians and
Gynaecologists certificate (London)."
The UWI release which commented on
the young doctor s expertise stated, "The
records will indicate that he has also per-
formed, within the last two years alone,
over 100 unsupervised and successful c-
sections at the Mt Hope Maternity Hospital,
including those for high-risk pregnancies.
"It is within this context that when Ms
Cottle s c-section was scheduled, the UWI
consultant who was on call, and was acces-
sible, was not requested to be in atten-
The surgeon who performed the c-section
has since been sent on paid leave pending
the outcome of the probe.
Ramsewak: I will recuse myself
if there is a conflict of interest
In a text exchange with Ramsewak on
Thursday, he said the doctor directly involved
in the case was not employed at UWI.
"If it came to a possibility of a conflict
of interest, then I will recuse myself bearing
in mind that council is composed of 11 mem-
bers. This, of course, presumes that the
matter will require the attention of the Med-
ical Council," he said.
'The powers that be must
take serious action'
Meanwhile, in the wake of this fiasco, at
least one prominent attorney is now saying
that if a case of medical negligence is found
to have occurred in this issue, the time has
come for criminal charges to be laid against
Attorney Ravi Rajcoomar said the powers
that be must take serious action in the inter-
est of proper patient care. He is also calling
for a special police unit to be set up to deal
with medical negligence.
Rajcoomar, also an author, who practises
at Invictus Chambers which he founded,
was the attorney handling the case of anoth-
er botched neonatal issue at the San Fer-
nando General Hospital that resulted in the
death of Crystal Ramsoomair back in 2011.
In that case, Ramsoomair, 29, a mother of
three, died at hospital, after undergoing a
c-section procedure during the birth of her
third child. Rajcoomar filed on behalf of
Ramsoomair s husband, claiming negligence.
We want justice, we're in the dark
For over a month, grieving parents Quelly
Ann Cottle and Emil Millington have nursed
fears that they will never find the justice
they are seeking after the botched c-section
left their baby dead.
Although the probe was expected to begin
last Monday, neither parents have been con-
tacted for any interviews or updates.
"I am in the dark on this whole thing. I
have not been contacted at all by anyone,"
Cottle said her high blood pressure was
already a health issue for her and as such,
she was trying to stay calm.
"But they lucky I am a praying woman,
because it has been over a month and no
word from anyone," she said.
Cottle said she was, in one way, happy
that they were "dragging their feet" on the
"It is giving me more time to prepare and
when I start a war with my information,
there would be nothing they could do to
cover-up then," she said.
"They are just stalling the inevitable, there
Baby Simeon probe stalls
...Will he be another statistic?
is only so much I can take," she said.
Millington shared her view.
"They real lucky I believe and have faith. That s
the only thing keeping me from acting out," he said.
"They keep hoping this going away and I just keep
praying. Because this still going on there is no sense
of closure, it is still so raw," Millington said.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan on Wednesday
maintained his distance from the issue. In a brief
telephone interview, Khan said he was deliberately
Continues on Page A7
Attorney Ravi Rajcoomar, during an interview at his Edward Street, Port-of-Spain office, last Wednesday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Dr Samuel Ramsewak
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