Doctors face council over fatal Cytotec abortion
March 5, 2004
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The matter against three doctors at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), who are accused of being partly responsible for the death of a mother, is still pending before the Medical Council of Guyana.
The three, one Cuban and two locals, were found to have erred in the management of Michelle Thomas-Phillips who died on January 19, 2003.
A source told Stabroek News that the three appeared before the council on Wednesday night and a state lawyer appeared for them while a lawyer for the woman's family also appeared. A representative from the Cuban Embassy was also at the hearing and there was questioning and cross-examining by the different parties.
The matter, which could result in the doctors being disciplined, is expected to be continued at the next meeting. However, the life of the present council will come to an end in a week. It is hoped that the life of the council would be extended to complete this and other matters. If this does not happen then the new council that is elected will be saddled with the responsibility of completing the matter.
According to reports, the woman was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation with a post-mature pregnancy. The drug Cytotec was administered to induce labour.
Sources told this newspaper that after the drug was administered the woman appeared to be alright until the next day when she collapsed. She was taken to the theatre, where it was found that she had a ruptured uterus and a large amount of blood in her abdomen. An operation was performed on the woman and her womb removed but in the process the baby died. The woman died sometime after and the family blamed the doctors for her death.
As a result an investigation was launched by the hospital and it was found that the doctors were negligent in their management of the patient.
The council had recommended that the hospital authorities take disciplinary action against the doctors but this was not done and the woman's family lodged a complaint with the council resulting in the start of the hearing.
The council recently issued an advisory to doctors, pharmacists, nurses and members of the public about Cytotec which it says is used indiscriminately. The council also notes that if an abortion procedure fails with Cytotec and the pregnancy continues, the unborn child can suffer birth defects.