Tue | Aug 22, 2017

More questions on klebsiella outbreak

Published:Saturday | October 24, 2015 | 10:00 AMJoseph M. Cornwall

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I would like to express sincere condolence to the parents of the 18 babies who died as a result of the klebsiella outbreak at the University Hospital of the West Indies and the Cornwall Regional Hospital. The mothers, especially the first-time ones, must be taking it very hard.

Were the police informed of this outbreak in order for them to investigate and have the bodies removed to the contracted funeral homes in Kingston and St James for forensic postmortems to be done?

Will the Ministry of National Security, in consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice, order a coroner?s inquest to determine if anyone should be charged?

Jamaica is promoting health tourism and it is one of the most affordable countries in the world where patients from overseas come to do surgical procedures and for maternity purposes.

Clinical scientist and microbiologist Anthony Jones has indicated that less-than-acceptable hygiene practices could have caused this latest nightmare to strike the health sector.

The two hospitals where the outbreak occurred are teaching hospitals, so what signal are they sending? Whose responsibility was it to inform the Minister of Health of the outbreak that occurred in July, with a new outbreak in September 2015? How were the bodies disposed of? Were they incinerated?

Were the families given the opportunity to have private burials in light of the circumstances to at least assist them in their time of grief and bereavement and to bring about some closure?

If these bodies were incinerated without a postmortem to identify the bacteria, how are we to know that it was the klebsiella bacteria that caused their deaths?

The Ministry of Health, the University Hospital of the West Indies and the Cornwall Regional Hospital have a lot of questions to answer.

Was the government forensic pathologist assigned to the Ministry of Health asked to assist with the postmortem? The forensic pathologist would take blood and tissue sample for analysis.

A coroner?s inquest must be held to determine: 1) if these babies died of the klebsiella bacteria; 2) if anyone is criminally responsible; 3) if anyone should be charged.

In the long run, if lawsuits are filed and they are successful, it is the taxpayers of this country who will be called upon to pay. They did not cause this klebsiella, yet they will be mandated to pay.

JOSEPH M. CORNWALL (Sr)

Managing Director/CEO

House of Tranquillity Funeral Home