Yesterday we shared the story of 22 year old Shameka Flowers, the mother who had a miscarriage at the Northern Regional Hospital last week Friday. She signed a paper in which it was understood that she would be back to claim the fetus with the plan to give it a proper burial in Crooked Tree Village. But when she did so yesterday morning, she was told that the fetus could not be found. Flowers believes that the fetus was thrown into the garbage. Today, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, says that a mistake was made and it was largely due to miscommunication or no communication among workers at the NRH.
DR RAMON FIGUEROA
“Because not everybody wants anything else to do with the fetus or the product and so normally if they don’t then we dispose of it as medical waste. But if the family wants the product then we are entitled and we should be responsible enough to provide that to the family. I know there is an emotional link, obviously it was clear in the interview with the mother that was really emotionally distraught and we understand that and I think we to respect that and we need to pay attention to people to understand that emotional aspect of spontaneous abortions and miscarriages and be a little bit more sensitive to people. We need to start thinking about that aspect of the service. Obviously like I said the information was not passed on to the people who traditionally go in and remove everything and so they unfortunately disposed of it and it’s something that has already taken place. We have asked the regional manager to meet with the staff there to use this as a learning experience and to ensure that we are little more sensitive to these situations and even before we dispose of something like that at least take that extra step to find out if the family is interested in having anything to do with the product before they go ahead and dispose of it.”
“Will anybody be penalized in sight that the mother did sign a paper where she was stating that she would be back for the fetus in order to give it a proper burial?”
DR RAMON FIGUEROA
“If penalized in the sense of firing or calling their attention to it I think more than anything I’m of the opinion that we need to look at the process and make sure that it does not happen again. It’s not about targeting the particular individual because I think you can find some reasons why it happened, it’s the process itself that failed us. We want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
In most cases like this, the fetus would be burnt.