What SERHA said about dead ba­bies at VJH

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

The fol­low­ing is a joint state­ment from chair­man of the South East Re­gional Health Au­thor­ity (SERHA), Philip Armstrong, and Dr Orville Mor­gan, se­nior med­i­cal of­fi­cer of the Vic­to­ria Ju­bilee Hos­pi­tal (VJH), re­gard­ing re­ports of the deaths of ba­bies at the VJH.

The Sun­day Gleaner ar­ti­cle pub­lished on Oc­to­ber 30, 2016 un­der the head­line ‘Some­body lied, 26 ba­bies died’ is ir­re­spon­si­ble, in­ac­cu­rate and an ab­so­lute mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Fur­ther­more, the ar­ti­cle seeks to un­der­mine the in­tegrity of the Min­istry of Health, the com­mit­tee formed to in­ves­ti­gate the clus­ter cases of Group B strep­to­coc­cus (GBS)re­lated deaths and health-care pro­fes­sion­als at the Vic­to­ria Ju­bilee Hos­pi­tal.

The com­mit­tee re­port, which was is­sued to the me­dia and posted on­line, fully dis­closed the fol­low­ing facts:

Monthly neona­tal deaths be­tween the pe­riod Jan­uary-Septem­ber 2016, which showed 29 neona­tal deaths be­tween the months of Au­gustSeptem­ber 2016 (page 8).

Of the 29 neona­tal deaths, four were con­firmed to be death by GBS in­fec­tion (page 1).

To fur­ther ex­plain the deaths over the Ju­lySeptem­ber 2016 pe­riod, note be­low:

IIJULY 2016 AU­GUST 2016

Causes of death for 11 neonates, de­ter­mined by the med­i­cal team, were as fol­lows:

Three com­pli­ca­tions of birth re­lated to no oxy­gen flow to the brain. I One born without a brain. I Seven com­pli­ca­tions of pre­ma­tu­rity.

None of these deaths were con­firmed as a re­sult of GBS or con­di­tions within the hos­pi­tal.

IISEPTEMBER 2016

– 745 live births. – 18 neonates died. Cause of death for 18 neonates, de­ter­mined by the med­i­cal team, were as fol­lows:

Four di­rectly re­lated to GBS. I Ten com­pli­ca­tions of pre­ma­tu­rity. I One con­gen­i­tal ab­nor­mal­ity. I One se­vere res­pi­ra­tory com­pli­ca­tion.

The above stated facts from the re­port is­sued by the com­mit­tee es­tab­lished by the Min­istry of Health clearly show that while 29 neonates lost their lives be­tween Au­gust and Septem­ber 2016, four were di­rectly re­lated to GBS and not the sug­gested 26 in the men­tioned ar­ti­cle.

While we un­der­stand that there are many chal­lenges within the health sec­tor, we con­tinue to aim for high stan­dards and are com­mit­ted to hav­ing a fully trans­par­ent process in all cases. All lives are im­por­tant, and as such, all neona­tal deaths are in­ves­ti­gated.

By way of this re­sponse, we want to also urge and en­cour­age all jour­nal­ists to thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate mat­ters be­fore pub­lish­ing, as it sends the wrong sig­nal and fur­ther con­trib­utes to the un­der­min­ing of the health sec­tor. Fur­ther­more, it is ir­re­spon­si­ble and un­fair to the pro­fes­sion­als within the health sec­tor who con­tinue to work un­der chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances.

We will al­ways be open to dis­cus­sion on mat­ters of pub­lic in­ter­est. Dr Orville Mor­gan – 578 live births. – 12 neonates died. Causes of death for 12 neonates, de­ter­mined by the med­i­cal team, were as fol­lows: I Eleven com­pli­ca­tions of pre­ma­tu­rity. I One con­gen­i­tal heart dis­ease. I None of these deaths were con­firmed as a re­sult of GBS or con­di­tions within the hos­pi­tal. – 652 live births. – 11 neonates died.

I

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