July, I ran a seven-part series on the lack of accountability by medical
doctors to their patients. The series was based on numerous accounts by
patients, and insensitive doctors who had clear conflicts of interests,
and charged exorbitant fees. Then there were the stories of clear
malpractice and death by negligence.
the fraternity, instead of disciplining errant doctors, closed ranks. I
wrote detailed letters to the Medical Board and Medical Association, with
a Patients’ Bill of Rights and copied to the Minister of Health with
questions and suggestions geared towards providing dissatisfied patients
with recourse. Twelve months later, I am still waiting for a response from
the medical fraternity.
new series is based on testimonials by people who feel their loved ones
would be alive today if doctors did their jobs and were held accountable.
is a testimonial by a mother whose baby died in the Mount Hope Pediatric
Unit this year:
two year old baby, Amanda, woke up at two in the morning, roasting with
fever, and vomiting. I took her to my pediatrician, who said she had a
slight lung infection, and prescribed antibiotics, and a cool bath.
days later, she seemed to be getting worse and her pediatrician told us
over the phone to take her to Mount Hope. The doctor there confirmed she
had an infection, asked us to continue the antibiotics and sent us home.
Sunday I left her with my mother for the day, and when I returned, I was
told she and my baby were at Mount Hope. I will never forget the sight of
my child - you could tell she was in distress. Her body was swollen. She
had been waiting with my mother for seven hours.
the time the doctor saw her, she needed oxygen. He said she had pneumonia,
and fluid in her lungs. One lung had already collapsed. He said they were
going to drain the fluid from her lungs, and they were going to do an
x-ray. They did neither and only gave her oxygen and more antibiotics. She
was vomiting green fluid. The doctor on duty brushed it off, saying
‘babies vomit all the time’. Instead, some interns came to see her.
was done the next day, or the next, except an X-ray. The fluid was still
in her lungs. By Wednesday she was worse. I told the doctor that her feet
were cold. He said ‘don’t worry, rub her feet, put on socks.’
died on Thursday morning. She was breathing very fast that morning, said
her chest was hurting, refusing breast milk, it hurt her even when I
picked her up.
combed her hair, not knowing it was the last time. Her daddy removed her
ear-rings because she wanted them off.
she got deathly white, and the monitor went off. All of a sudden we were
surrounded with doctors, specialists. When both her lungs were already
gone they were taking her to the intensive care unit. I heard the flat
tone when her heart stopped three times, and then she was gone. She
didn’t look like my beautiful girl.
There was a tube down her throat, fluid in her lungs. She bled
through her eyes, ears, nose. She turned blue. I couldn’t look at her.
They said they did all they could have done.
autopsy said she died of blood poisoning from pneumonia. What I learned
from the internet was this: Once a child under three has a sudden onset of
fever accompanied with cramps, the doctor should suspect pneumonia, and
admit the baby to intensive care immediately where a blood test should be
done to determine whether the pneumonia is caused by a bacteria or a
virus. Viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. Amanda’s didn’t. The
antibiotics were just making it worse. He said fluid in her lungs should
have been removed, and since she couldn’t breathe, she should have been
given oxygen. Amanda had to wait seven hours for oxygen.
body was swelling because she was going into septic shock. Nobody
suggested a blood transfusion until she was dying. The autopsy showed that
her lungs were mashed up. And she bled to death.
is a vaccine that children three months and older can get to prevent
pneumonia. My pediatrician didn’t tell me about it.
will never forget the sight of my baby, in serious distress, unable to
breathe, not eating or drinking, bloating up, having to wait for seven
hours to be admitted to the ward, being told she had to wait her turn. My
child was left to die.
five year old hugs her doll and calls her Amanda. I put on my false face
and go to work, but I hurt non-stop. My husband cries like a baby for her.
Grandma is not the same.
are not supposed to bury our children. My healthy baby girl with dimples
and energy died a painful death because they were negligent, and didn’t
know what they were doing.
Health Minister was put into Mount Hope with chest pains and seen
immediately. I wish him well, but there is one set of justice for the poor
and another for the rich. I pay taxes and don’t get health care, but he
blame her pediatrician. I blame the doctors in the pediatric unit at Mount
Hope - a place where they are supposed to specialise in children.
can’t sue them because doctors are not going to testify against doctors
and I don’t have a couple of hundred thousand dollars to pay lawyers. I
didn’t complain to the Medical Board because they say they have no power
to discipline doctors.
can’t describe the pain of losing a child.”
week: A cancer patient is misdiagnosed.