Sun | May 31, 2020

Ship worker loses baby - Uncertainty over whether distressed pregnant woman from Adventure needed help earlier

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2020 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera and Romario Scott/Gleaner Writers
The Adventure of the Seas cruise ship that docked in Falmouth on Tuesday.

As there was celebration that 1,044 Jamaican nationals were being landed at the historic Falmouth Port in Trelawny after being stranded for two months at sea, tragedy was unfolding as a 10-week pregnant woman who was a worker on the Adventure of the Seas cruise ship lost her child.

The Gleaner understands that the woman, whose identity will not be published, is currently under supervision at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.

Before the Adventure of the Seas could be landed at the port on Tuesday, an alarm was raised that there was a medical emergency on the ship.

The crew member fell ill on Monday evening as the ship drifted east of Jamaica.

Hours before the emergency, the ship halted forward speed about 100 miles away from Falmouth as it awaited Government approval to enter Jamaica’s maritime space.

In an announcement, the captain told crew members that the ill worker would have to be airlifted.

He said it was uncertain whether the rescue mission would happen on Monday night but noted that the ship would be moving closer to Jamaica get airlift support.

Doctors on the ship, The Gleaner gathers, had been attending to the pregnant woman but figured they might need assistance given their assessment of the patient.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton yesterday addressed the issue of whether a request for help from the ship was denied.

“Once the request came in, the request was dealt with. I was never advised that there was any request and the request was denied,” Tufton said.

“I suspect it would be a matter of processing the request and following through, and a lot of events took place in that period which led to the person being given appropriate attention,” the minister said.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie admitted, however, that there was information swirling that there was a medical emergency before an official request was received by the ministry for medical evacuation.

“The time at which we received the information, the evaluation by both the persons on the ship, as well as the persons on land, the information that I have is that the condition of the person would allow for the ship to reach here safely,” Bisasor-McKenzie said.

The health ministry cited confidentiality issues yesterday as the reason it would not give details surrounding the incident.

“The patient-confidentiality issues do not allow that to take place, and the person would have to speak on their own behalf as it relates to their status of their condition or give written permission for that to happen,” Tufton said.

However, on Monday, The Gleaner observed an ambulance entering the port facility to attend to the woman.

She was later driven to the hospital for medical care.

The exact cause of the miscarriage could not be ascertained, but sources close to then-expectant mother have revealed that the woman had been bleeding badly.

Medical experts estimate that a third of all pregnancies end in miscarriages.

They also say that 80 per cent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester, or 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The process of disembarking the ship will commence today, with the first 200, and will continue in similar-sized batches every 48 to 72 hours.

Meanwhile, nine more COVID-19 cases have been reported in Jamaica, pushing the tally to 529.

Six of the new cases are workers of the Marella Discovery 2; one is an Alorica call-centre worker; one a contact of a confirmed Alorica worker; and the other a contact of a case under investigation.

This brings to 12 the number of Marella Discovery ship workers who have tested positive for the virus.

They arrived from London via a charter flight two Wednesdays ago.

Meanwhile, over the past 24 hours, there were 26 more recoveries, increasing the tally to 171, representing a third of total cases.