Tufton mum on Jubilee baby deaths, awaits investigation
The Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, has refused to comment on claims by his opposition counterpart Horace Dalley that as many as 20 newborns may have died at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital because of a bacteria.
In a release yesterday, the Health Ministry confirmed the deaths of four infants as a result of sepsis, a potentially deadly condition that occurs when certain bacteria, fungi or parasites attack critical organs in newborns.
The Chief Medical Officer Dr Winston De La Haye says the infection was due to an organism in the vaginal tracts of their mothers.
Initially, Dalley had claimed that seven babies had died.
He later reported that the situation appeared to have worsened with the figure now as high as seven.
Contacted last night, Dr Tufton told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre that he would not comment on the deaths at Victoria Jubilee Hospital until an investigation into the matter has been completed a special committee.
The other committee members include the Permanent Secretary in the health ministry, Elaine Foster Allen; Chief Medical Officer, Dr Winston De La Haye; and Regional Director of the South East Regional Health Authority, Maureen Golding.
Meanwhile, Dalley is demanding that the Health Minister discloses reports of other newborn deaths from bacterial infections at the Cornwall Regional Hospital and The University Hospital of the West Indies.
This is the second time in 12 months that local hospitals have been hit by reports of newborn deaths due to bacterial infection.
Last October, an outbreak of klebsiella and serratia bacterial infection at the University Hospital of the West Indies and the Cornwall Regional Hospital resulted in 18 of 42 infected newborn babies dying in a four-month period in the highly publicised 'dead babies scandal'.