Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
Yet another baby - the second in two months - has mysteriously disappeared from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH), sparking renewed concerns within the administrative arm of the country's largest maternity facility.
Hospital sources have told The Gleaner that a major management shake-up is being considered and heads could roll at the senior level as chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority, Lyttleton 'Tanny' Shirley, is livid.
Shirley told The Gleaner yesterday that he was informed of the "situation" on Friday and immediately ordered an investigation into the matter.
He said he expects a report on his desk today.
"I heard some concerns that such a situation took place. I called the chief executive officer, Godfrey Boyd, and asked for an immediate investigation and to give me a report if it is so or not," Shirley said. "That was on Friday, and I have not had a response from him."
In the aftermath of what was believed to be a foul-up by hospital personnel in April of this year, Shirley told The Gleaner he had commissioned an investigation into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a baby at that time.
Over the weekend, it was not clear whether that probe had yielded any results.
Asked yesterday if he could confirm whether the body of the baby that went missing late last week was eventually found at a funeral home, Shirley maintained that at the time, he was unclear about the details.
"I am not sure. I heard that there was a mother who showed concern over a baby, after an autopsy was performed, as to the facts surrounding it," Shirley said, "I am not clear what actually happened. As soon as I heard, I asked for a full report on it."
He said "Understandably so, I was upset. These are things you don't want to happen more than once, and the fact that something similar happened before is just unacceptable."
In April, another baby disappeared from the facility and hospital personnel were unable to inform the distraught mother of her child's whereabouts.
The mother's experience was made more excruciating as it was the third time she was losing a child after carrying the babies to near full term.
That baby was reportedly born with a range of medical complications and died shortly afterwards. The baby, delivered prematurely after the mother developed complications, was given a 10 per cent chance of survival by doctors.
The Gleaner was told that the medical team made every effort to save the baby, who weighed 1.9 kilograms at birth.
According to a source, by all indications, the body of the child was mistakenly disposed of.
The recent cases at the VJH have triggered memories of the high-profile 'Baby Pansy' case of 2002. That child's body was never located.
The mother, Pansy Campbell, was transferred from Lionel Town Hospital in Clarendon to the Mandeville Regional Hospital to deliver her child. The hospital reported 10 days later that Campbell's baby had died, but months of searching failed to locate the body.
Even when the hospital produced bodies, successive DNA tests showed that none belonged to Campbell.
The State settled with Campbell out of court.