Tuesday, March 18, 2014


When the news broke that a baby had died from what was reported as a botched caesarian operation, like most people I was absolutely horrified and full of empathy for the mother and father. How could this possibly have happened? From the way that it was reported it sounded very much like a case of terrible medical negligence that seemed to border almost on criminality of some sort. That is, the way that it was reported.

Subsequent newspaper reports have continued along these lines and have gone on to suggest a cover-up of some sort as the doctors and the rest of the medical fraternity circle the wagons to prevent one of their own from being punished appropriately. Again, like, I suspect, most people, I was more than a little upset by this.

So when this last weekend I met someone whom I have known for a long time and who was involved on the periphery of that unfortunate incident I was anxious to ask about it and get some details that up to now have not been published in the press. According to my source, at the time that she went into labour, the young mother's blood pressure went sky-rocketing through the roof. When it was realized that her blood pressure was way too high and that death could result from allowing a normal birth to continue the baby had already become engaged in the birth canal. At the time, the only available on duty doctor was someone who had only recently qualified and who had never done a 'C-section' alone. In other words, the young doctor had little or no experience and certainly not enough experience for an emergency such as this one which had developed most suddenly and unexpectedly.

Well, the rest is history and the baby is dead ... though the mother is alive! There is no doubt that an enquiry will look into everything and that the facts should come out sooner or later. But the operative word in that last sentence is "should".

And this is the point about this particular post. The Trinidad & Tobago media ... both the print as well as the electronic... very often do not report all of the facts, but report in ways to make a story seem more salacious and "newsworthy". A lot more newspapers will sell if the story is a gory one about some slipshod doctor killing a baby in a botched 'C-section' than a story about a baby dying in an emergency operation where the doctor was fighting to save both the life of the mother as well as the life of the child and time was of the most critical essence!! Put another way, assuming that the report that was given to me is in fact correct, then this would put a completely different slant on the whole very sad story. And while I will readily admit that I cannot vouch completely for its veracity, my source is one whom I have learned to trust over several years. In other words, I believe that what I am reporting is in fact true.

Put another way again, past experience with the media has taught me that they are more interested in selling a story than in the truth ... and all I can say is: isn't that a very sad perception to have?

The three daily newspapers, the main television stations and not a few of the radio stations have become rich and powerful. There success has given rise to arrogance, overconfidence, pride ... and prejudice!! One almost prays for them to fail, not because it would be nice to see them fall flat on their smug faces, but because failure usually produces humility, caution and a willingness to learn. Failure usually makes a person more empathetic ... and Heaven knows that we need a lot more empathy in this society! Failure tends to produce humility, caution and a willingness to learn. But the arrogance in the society is not confined just to the media; it permeates its entire fabric. The people at the top in the business community, the bankers,  the politicians on both sides of the political divide, and just about everybody else at the top display a terrible lack of empathy and total arrogance, pride, overconfidence ... and prejudice.There is no humility and no demonstrable willingness to learn.

Understandably, a person will want to focus on what makes him or her feel good. The greatest benefit, though, comes from taking a good hard and honest look at ourselves and our most pressing problems. What isn't working? What can be done to make it work? It takes courage to ask such questions, but they do help to come up with fresh answers that inspire and uplift. And that is what is needed now!

1 comment:

  1. I am sure it is troubling and sad for the doctor as well as the patient. I feel for both parties.