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Wednesday 16 January 2019
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Toddler dies during visit to TT

A COUPLE said they stood helplessly at their son’s bedside on Friday morning and watched him turn blue and die at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH). Three-year- old Evans Massiah, who had cerebral palsy, died at about 9.40 am on Friday and Guy Massiah, 46, and his wife Shaheeda, 40, are blaming their child’s death on negligence.

“We would have been comforted if we knew the doctors did their best,” said a distraught Massiah yesterday, “But we know they didn’t, and that is why we are so upset. There was no one there to fight for our son.”

Evans was born visually impaired, unable to swallow, talk, or even walk. Because of the severity of his illness, mother and son migrated to London where Evans was an outpatient of the Great Ormond Street Hospital. According to the parents, their son had made steady progress. Two weeks ago, mother and son returned home to spend time with relatives and friends. They were due to fly back to London in April.

Massiah said Evans became ill and they rushed him to the Princes Town District Health Facility at about 4 am on Thursday. The child had a high fever and was transferred to the SFGH where he was warded.

Evans died several hours later following several bouts of seizures and vomiting. The parents told Newsday that they saw their child turned blue but their pleas for doctors at the hospital to render assistance fell on deaf ears.

Evans was Shaheeda’s first child. Her husband has two children from a previous relationship. Massiah explained, “My wife begged them to help him because she saw he was in distress, and instead, was told there were children more sick than Evans. One doctor told me my wife was only harassing him.”

The couple believed that their son should have been properly ventilated the moment he was admitted to the ward. Massiah said they were forced to endure even more pain as they looked at their dead son for more than eight hours on the hospital’s bed before the body was removed to the morgue.

“If you see how the attendants took up his body and dropped it on the trolley,” Massiah said. Recalling her experience in 2005 when she was forced to write the SWRHA demanding answers, Shaheeda told Newsday when Evans was born the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. “In the delivery room, my baby was stuck in my birth passage with the cord around his neck and it locked off the oxygen to the brain,” she said.

She said they never got a response from SWRHA and now three years later, they are faced with a bigger challenge.

“I am speaking with my lawyers and this time I am taking legal action,” Shaheeda said.

Efforts to contact the SWRHA were futile as calls went unanswered.

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