Under fire, Health Minister, Nickolas Steele has declined to give the reasons for the deaths of three infants at the St. George’s General hospital about three weeks ago which landed him in a public row with the island’s nurses.
The senior government minister told reporters at a press conference earlier in the month that incident resulted from a failure of the system and the matter would be investigated to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
At Tuesday’s post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex, the Health Minister did not reveal the contents of a report that he had asked for but said the matter is still under investigation.
“…It’s not about pointing fingers or so. It’s about recognising that we use every incident no matter how unfortunate it is as a way to improve, as a way to move forward, as a way to be better”, he said.
“I think that is what we need to focus on, the recognition that we need to move forward. I …am saying that issue is not of the amount of people, babies, or individuals that were wrongly treated, the issue is a recognition of shortfalls, and moving forward with a solution…”, he added.
Minister Steele went on to say: “There is no solution in just simply finding the cause and pointing the blame…absolutely no solution.
The President of the Grenada Nurses Association (GNA), Patricia Strachan has called for the minister to issue an apology to the doctors and nurses at the hospital for allegedly seeking to blame them for the deaths.
Strachan got support from the President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachael Roberts who also called on the minister to make public the probe into the deaths.
During the press briefing, it was announced that government has entered into a one year contract with Live Healthy Me, Inc (LHMI), a group of medical professionals on the island to help improve the health sector.
Under the agreement, LHMI would assist with counseling and training, specifically in health services provided by the General Hospital on the Obstetrics and Gynecology Ward.
The outfit is headed by Dr. Carol McIntosh, FACOG, OBE who outlined the type of work that is involved.
“We currently (are) providing care in one, for teaching how do you manage obstetrics emergencies, such as postpartum Hemorrhage when a woman bleeds out, such as Eclampsia, when a woman blood pressure rises so high during pregnancy…”, she said.
As part of the mandate, Dr. McIntosh pointed out that LHMI will be tasked with the responsibility of helping the doctors and the nurses at the General Hospital determine “the core remedy” to prevent unfortunate deaths at the institution.
She said that emphasis will be placed upon how to advance, as well as how to make improvement because “the same things happen in the United States…losses (deaths in hospitals) are not particular to any particular place”.
“It is a reality, there are complications in medicine,” she remarked.
She highlighted the need for education, review of processes and continued medical education to arrest some of the problems.
According to Dr. McIntosh, her team will also assist in helping to rebuild the medical records in the health sector.
The agreement also makes provisions for focus on Cervical Cancer training and Screening, Fetal Heart Monitoring and Electronic Fetal Monitoring.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Pauline Peters who signed the contract on behalf of the Ministry of Health said the agreement will ensure that there is continued training of health care professionals to deliver the best quality care despite the challenge of financial resources.
“When we look at what is happening today and the actual coming together of this initiative…the training in neo-natal care and all of the other activities, the Ministry of Health is (committed to) bring all of this together with the sole objective of being able to provide quality care to all patients who would cross our path within the health sector.
“…We are extremely pleased that the staff has actually taken it (the training) up as well and are attending the courses and are participating fully because they themselves see the need to enhance their own skills, their ability and to gain the experience from experts who are on the ground assisting us.
The contract provides for Live Healthy to provide training to nurses and doctors in Grenada until April 1st 2018.