Family members demand answers as woman, baby die after hospital transfer
File photo of the Black River Hospital

BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth – Relatives are seeking answers after 37-year-old Sherita “Janice” Dennis, who was expecting her third child, died at the Mandeville Regional Hospital (MRH) Tuesday night after initially entering the Black River Hospital here earlier in the morning.

Her baby also died.

Relatives say they believe the Black River Hospital is at fault for taking too long to transfer Dennis by ambulance to Mandeville after recognising that the patient needed specialised help to deliver her baby.

“Black River was the careless hospital, because they see that they don't have the equipment to [help] my sister, why they never transfer her from that time or contact [us] that we get a private ambulance to Mandeville. Black River didn't call and say they didn't have an ambulance to bring her to Mandeville,” said Tanika Dennis, who is Sherita's sister.

“I'm not going to blame MRH, because not even five minutes for them to take her… to the bed, she lost her life. They not even transfer her good. Right there they have to do the [C-section] to try and save the baby's life,” she added.

However, chief executive officer of the Black River Hospital Diana Brown-Miller, who expressed condolence to the bereaved relatives, told the Jamaica Observer last Thursday that the hospital did all that it could.

She disagreed with Tanika Dennis's criticism when asked about the alleged delay in getting an ambulance to transport the expectant mother.

“I am saying [the hospital] did all that it could. In terms of the [allegation regarding] delay of the ambulance, I am not in agreement with that,” she said.

“She [Sherita Dennis] walked in at about 10:00 am [and] based on her condition it was proposed for an emergency C-section. However, after her vitals were done, they were all abnormal, so the internal medical team was called in to do an assessment as well. Based on what they found they recommended a transfer for the patient to Mandeville,” said Brown-Miller.

She said the hospital's ambulance was reassigned to transport the expectant mother to the MRH as the case took priority over a patient with a head injury who also needed the ambulance.

“An ambulance was here, because we had two emergencies at the same time. There was one that was being incubated to go to Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) with a head injury, and then the maternal case came up and [it] could not wait, so it went with the ambulance that was [available],” she explained.

She said another ambulance was requested to take the patient with the head injury to CRH.

She disclosed that in following protocol the case is being thoroughly investigated with an autopsy to be done to determine the cause of death.

The family told the Sunday Observer that Sherita Dennis arrived at the Black River Hospital earlier than 10:00 am.

“She reached about 8:30 am on Tuesday. She called me at 9 o' clock and told me she was feeling pain and that her head water [amniotic sac] burst. She called me [again] about 11:48 am and told me that they are going to take her to the theatre,” said Tanika Dennis.

“At 10:03 pm MRH called me and [they] said she was having complications with breathing, so if I could come to Mandeville. I said, 'Get to me straight. She passed away?' The nurse said 'yes',” added Dennis.

Nickoy Barnes, the baby's father said he last spoke to his partner Tuesday evening.

“The last [call] was 6:11 pm. She tell mi seh the baby all right and she all right, but she inna pain and that she was waiting for the ambulance. She was waiting on an ambulance from the C-section delayed in the morning. All I know is when she reach a Mandeville she was dead,” he said.

He said the family met with hospital staff on Wednesday to get details on Sherita's death.

The relatives are devastated and finding it hard to come to terms with her passing, which has left a nine-year-old boy motherless and Sherita's 18-year-old daughter in mourning.

“She was loving, caring, kind-hearted. She would just take out her heart and give you anything she has,” the dejected sister said.

“From Tuesday night when I got the call, I can't sleep. I can't eat. I am just depressed and crying. I cried until my eyes swell,” she added.

Barnes shared similar sentiments as he is in disbelief.

“Mi lose mi lover. Mi nuh have nobody else to talk to. We were always there for each other. Mi cyaa believe all now,” he said.

The Mandeville Regional Hospital
An undated photo of 37-year-old expectant mother Sherita JaniceDennis who died at the Mandeville Regional Hospital on Tuesdayafter being transferred from the Black River Hospital.
BY KASEY WILLIAMS Staff reporter

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