THE South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) was yesterday found liable for damages following a lawsuit for medical negligence filed after a welder died from a flesh-eating bacterium.
Navin Singh was misdiagnosed by doctors at the Princes Town District Health Facility (PTDHF) in 2014.
Days later, the 30-year-old was dead.
His mother, Bhagwantee Singh, with whom he lived in Princes Town, sued for damages for negligence.
Yesterday, the SWRHA — which is responsible for the PTDHF — was found liable in the case heard before Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams at the San Fernando High Court.
Singh testified that she had taken her son to the PTDHF on October 25, 2014 as he had pain in his right knee and was vomiting.
A diagnosis of sciatica was made by Dr Shane Karim and medication was prescribed.
Two days later, Singh’s family had to lift him from his bed and take him to the car to return him to the health facility.
Singh could not stand or walk and his right knee was discoloured and had black spots.
His vomiting continued and he had a high fever.
During this second visit, Dr Stephen McBenedict attended to him and made a similar diagnosis as Karim.
At both visits, no further tests were performed on Singh by the doctors.
Two days later, Singh was again taken to the Princes Town facility but this time was referred to the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH).
He was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis.
This is where bacteria “eat away” at muscles, skin and underlying body tissues.
The next day, Singh died at the hospital, two days after his 30th birthday.
The post mortem found his death was as a result of septic shock and that he had necrotising fasciitis of the right limb.
Dr McBenedict, under cross-examination by senior counsel Anand Ramlogan during the court matter, said he saw no need for further tests or for Singh to be referred to a consultant at the San Fernando General Hospital.
The judge rejected his evidence.
She also found that Karim failed to perform diagnostic and blood tests to verify his diagnosis and that such tests were necessary as doctors have a duty to consider different diagnoses and rule out more serious possibilities.
The judge accepted the evidence of international expert Dr David Mayer, associate professor of clinical surgery from New York Medical College.
He testified via video link that the medical treatment of Singh was negligent and deficient and the doctors failed in their duty of care.
He said they failed to perform basic blood tests that could have alerted them that there was a bacterial infection which would have led to an early diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis.
Quinlan-Williams also accepted the evidence of Prof Vijay Naraynsingh who testified on behalf of the Authority, to the effect that had an earlier diagnosis been made, proper treatment could have been administered that would have saved Singh’s life.
The judge found the SWRHA liable for damages in medical negligence and this will be assessed for compensation to be paid at a later time.
Bhagwantee Singh was represented by Ramlogan SC, Jared Jagroo and instructed by Dr Che`Dindial of Freedom Law Chambers.
The SWRHA was represented by Vijai Deonarine and Marissa Ramsunda instructed by Krystal Kawal.