Sun | Oct 17, 2021

Chief Medical Officer Took 14 Days to Respond to Infection Outbreak at UHWI

Published:Friday | October 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A sign outside the University Hospital of the West Indies.

A report to the board chairman of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), which was leaked to the media, indicates that Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Marion Bullock Ducasse took 14 days to respond to reports of an outbreak of infections in the neonatal units at the hospital.

The documents, which present a chronology of the outbreak of infections and deaths at the Neonatal Special Care and Intensive Care Units, also indicate that the day before the CMO officially responded to the hospital, a baby died.

The documents indicate that leading up to the CMO being informed of the outbreak on September 7, the hospital implemented several infection-control measures.

The series of events was chronicled from June 25, when the chair of the Infectious Disease Committee, Dr Allison Nicholson, and the acting head of the Neonatal Unit at the UHWI informed the administration of an outbreak of Serratia Marcescens.


The report indicates that on September 5, the fourth death as a result of the infection outbreak occurred.

It was after this death that the hospital alerted the CMO of the outbreak on September 7. A response was not forthcoming from the CMO until September 21 when she indicated to the hospital that two officials from the Ministry of Health would follow up on the matter to ensure that the appropriate infection control procedures were in place. Another baby had, however, died on September 20.

On October 5, the day the hospital received a letter indicating that a team from the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department would be visiting to conduct an assessment of the unit, another baby diagnosed with Klebsiella died.

The Gleaner reached out to the CMO for a response, but none was forthcoming up to press time.