Midwife in hospital saga temporarily relieved of duties
The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) has revealed that the incident involving Shelly-Ann Smith, the woman who involuntarily gave birth to her baby on the streets after being turned away from the Chapelton Hospital, could have been avoided.
At the same time, the authority has temporarily relieved the mid-wife who is at the centre of the controversy from her job, pending further investigations.
Wayne Chen, chairman of SRHA, said the process is being handled by the Human Resource Department and as such, he is not able to make any further comment.
Regional technical director at the SRHA, Dr Michael Coombs, has revealed that Smith was a high risk patient who should have been following up with her clinic visits, but failed to do so.
"This was her eighth pregnancy and there is a significance where that is concerned ... she was considered as high risk and prone to more complications," Coombs said on Monday at a press conference held at the SRHA offices in Manchester. He noted that when Smith went to the Chapelton Hospital on November 4, having received signs that she may go into labour, she was interviewed and then referred to the May Pen Hospital, as the facility was thought of as one that could provide better care for her at the time.
Smith, however, did not make it to the May Pen Hospital in time and was forced to have her baby on the streets.
Coombs said that while there is a policy that guides the transportation of patients who are referred from one health facility to another, no ambulance was available at the time.
Chen said he deeply regrets what has happened, noting that the authority is working to prevent future recurrence.
Chen, in acknowledging word of Smith's plan to possibly file a lawsuit, said he has no power to deny any Jamaican that right.
Smith's daughter is reportedly still at the May Pen Hospital but is doing well.