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Judge orders doctor to pay $3m for medical negligence

Published:Friday | September 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

A doctor has been ordered by the Supreme Court to pay $3 million with interest to a patient for medical negligence.

The order was made against Dr James Monroe, who had performed the incorrect surgery on Jereta Bowniafair in July 2006.

The claimant, who was a patient of Dr Mathew Beaubrun, was referred to Monroe for the treatment of intestinal defects. Monroe requested an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis and to ascertain the exact location of the abdominal obstruction.

Bownaifair testified that Monroe performed an emergency surgery, but he did none of the things for which he had scheduled the emergency surgery.

He did not treat the intussusception, which is an inversion of one portion of the intestine within another, or the intestinal polyp. Monroe instead removed her appendix and did not tell her. There was a recurrence of the symptoms which had affected her before the surgery and she sought medical advice and assistance.

On August 7, 2006, Dr Lucien Tomlinson performed the correct surgery.


Justice Donald McIntosh, in handing down judgment in favour of the claimant, said he found that Monroe's removal of the claimant's appendix was unwarranted and unnecessary. He said that Monroe's negligence caused the claimant to undergo a second surgery.

Attorneys-at-law André Earle and Kelly Greenway, who represented the claimant, had argued that based on the evidence of the claimant and expert witness Dr Derrick Mitchell, the judge should find that Monroe was negligent.

Monroe, who was represented by attorneys-at-law David Batts and Miguel Williams, denied he was negligent and said his treatment of the patient met the standard of care.

He called Dr Tevor McCartney and Dr Patrick Bhoorasingh to testify as expert witnesses.

McIntosh said, simply put, the defendant failed to make an adequate incision to properly examine the claimant's intestines for the intussusuception and/or the catalysis polyp.

He also found that Monroe routinely removed the claimant's appendix based on discoloration, which should have evidently resulted from the barium meal test. He said the doctor did not inform the claimant that he had merely removed her appendix and had failed to remove her intussusceptions and catalytic polyp.

The judge said he was at a loss as to why Monroe did not take the advice of his friend, McCartney, to "settle quickly".