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Trinidad appoints committee to investigate death of baby

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Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said the committee would determine what went wrong, why it went wrong and what should be done to prevent it from recurring.

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday March 19, 2014, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government has named a three-member independent committee to probe the circumstances that led to the death of a baby boy, whose head was cut when his mother underwent a Caesarean section on March 1.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said that the work of the committee, which includes consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist attached to the University College London Hospitals, Dr Melanie Clare Davies, should not be viewed as a witch hunt.

The baby, named Simeon, by his mother, Quelly Ann Cottle, will be buried here on Wednesday.

The other members of the committee are Dr Petronella Manning-Alleyne, neonatologist and former head of the Neonatal Unit at the Port of Spain General Hospital and retired Appeal Court judge, Mustapha  Ibrahim.

Ramlogan said the committee would determine what went wrong, why it went wrong and what should be done to prevent it from recurring.

“It is going to be a no-holds-barred approach. I am going to encourage the committee to shoot from the hip and let us deal with the problem frankly and squarely,” he said.

Ramlogan said Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar has already indicated that there is to be no sweeping of this matter under the carpet.

He said she has instructed that “we must take the bull by the horns and we must wrestle this beast into the ground”.

Ramlogan said that the probe is meant to be a fair, balanced and unbiased professional investigation, which would speak to the facts.

“We must allow the investigation to be transparent and fair and free from fear,” Ramlogan said, adding that the government also wanted the committee to be open and frank with it “so that we can prevent tragedies such as this recurring … bearing in mind that medicine is not an exact science.

“Mistakes will happen and at all times there is no guarantee when anyone goes into any operating theatre for any medical procedure, that they would come out alive because that resides in the hands of the Lord,” he said.

While he did not give a specific time-frame, Ramlogan said he would recommend to the Cabinet that the committee report  be made public.

An autopsy found that the baby died from a laceration to the head which caused massive blood loss and hypovolaemic shock as well as prematurity with severe intrauterine growth retardation

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