Hanover mother wants justice for dead baby

Regional

Hanover mother wants justice for dead baby

Western Health Authority insists body not buried

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 11, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover — The mother of a two-day-old baby who died in January is calling for justice as she questions the whereabouts of her baby's body, nine months later.

“I want justice for my baby…We people in Hanover deserve better,” stated Salvia Perry.

On January 18, Perry gave birth to the baby at Noel Holmes Hospital. The mother and the neonate were released from hospital shortly after. However, the mother returned to the hospital two days later after the baby was found unresponsive. Efforts to resuscitate the baby were unsuccessful. Since then the mother has tried on numerous occasions to collect the body of her baby, without success.

She said at first she was told by a staff member at Noel Holmes Hospital in March that the baby was buried. On another occasion she was told that an autopsy was done in St James at Cornwall Regional Hospital on the body without her knowledge, and was later sent to a morgue in Westmoreland.

Last Tuesday, Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) — which oversees public hospitals and clinics in Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland – in a release had stated that there was no truth to claims that the baby was buried. “This information is not true as the body of the child is still with the funeral home and the hospital had made attempts to get in touch with the mother, but those proved futile,” the statement said.

However, there was another twist in the dramatic series of events when the family turned up at the morgue in Westmoreland after speaking with Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who was on a COVID-19 tour of Hanover on Thursday.

Dr Tufton told Perry that he had asked for a report from the region to be sent to him.

Perry said the baby she saw at the morgue was not her's. She said the baby she was shown at the morgue was that of Indian descent and was approximately a month old.

“How can a baby that lived two days look like him ready fi go trim...him ready fi the barber trim him. Nothing can go so. Come on Jamaican people, we are not idiots,” stated an upset Perry, who later added, “I don't know of baby hair growing while they are on fridge with a big old bump on the face.

“We are asking the Prime Minister [Andrew Holness] and Dr Tufton, because yesterday [Thursday] you [Dr Tufton] said you were going to look into the matter. So you need to look into it quickly and see that the health care is not right, because the people are going around and coming around and taking people for idiots at this time,” pleaded the distraught mother.

The baby is the second child for Perry and her spouse Kean Hamilton, who is finding it difficult to cope with the loss of his first daughter.

“Mi get fed up of it. Right now mi can't sleep; one side a mi head a hurt me. And when mi go deh yesterday, dem a show mi 'Coolie' (Indian) baby and mi no Coolie. That a jacket baby. Mi a fi ask mi babymother if she has a Coolie man. The baby looks different and we have di picture fi show them seh it is not the right baby. It is not our baby, so we want justice,” expressed Hamilton.

The family was very much upset when they were shown the baby on Thursday at the funeral home's morgue. However, a representative at the morgue tried to console the family.

“So, maybe the hospital got your baby mixed up. The baby was tagged with your name, right, so that is what we have to go by — what was sent to us,” the female representative explained.

When contacted, senior medical officer of Noel Holmes Hospital, Dr Patrice Monthrope told the Jamaica Observer that while he is unable to say if the family and the hospital have had dialogue on the development, his personal recommendation would be for the family to do a DNA test in light of the present circumstances. He said this would be in the family's right.

Perry told the Sunday Observer that such a suggestion is currently being contemplated.

“That has to be done because guess what, I am not going to take a Coolie baby that is not mine for burial when a lady at the hospital had told me that they had already buried my baby,” expressed Perry.

An autopsy report dated March 24 at 8:30 am and seen by the Sunday Observer, concluded that the presumptive cause of death is Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) – a breathing problem experienced by newborn babies. The report said the combined weight of lungs were 50.8 grammes. The normal combined weight should be 39 grammes.

The issue surrounding Perry's baby came on the eve of another incident which has placed Noel Holmes Hospital on the defensive.

Last month a 25-year-old pregnant woman, who was admitted at the hospital on September 24, died. She reportedly went into sudden cardiac arrest on September 28 and efforts to resuscitate her failed.

On Tuesday WRHA had stated in the news release that both matters were being investigated by the management of the WRHA and the police.

The WRHA had also expressed condolence to the families.


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