External review to examine VGH newborn death

An independent, external review into case of a infant death during childbirth has been commissioned by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

  • Aug. 23, 2011 3:00 p.m.

An independent, external review into case of a infant death during childbirth has been commissioned by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Unlike VIHA’s routine internal investigation, which concluded last week and was shared only with hospital staff and the patient involved, the external review will be made public.

VIHA acting-chief medical officer Dr. Martin Wale said the review was called to help restore public confidence in maternal care at Victoria General.

It will cover the events leading up to the death and make recommendations on how such a tragic outcome might be avoided in the future.

“It’s really tragic and we’re deeply sorry to the family for their loss,” Wale said. “We expect to be held accountable for what happened. If recommendations come back with things we could have done better, we’ll change our procedures.”

Details of the case were made public by an anesthetist at the hospital, Sue Ferreira, who said the mother required an emergency cesarian section but the procedure was delayed because the one general anesthetist in the hospital was busy with another surgery.

An anesthetist administers the epidural or spinal anesthetic before a C-section begins and monitors the mother’s pain throughout the procedure.

Wale said the national standard for how long it should take an anesthetist to reach a patient in an emergency is 30 minutes. He said in this case, from the time the doctor called for a C-section to when the back up anesthetist arrived at the hospital was 10 minutes and another 15 minutes elapsed before the procedure began.

During that time the child died inside its mother, and it was delivered as a stillborn.

Erna Turrie, the grandmother of the woman who lost her child, told media that she blames the doctors for not calling in the anesthetist sooner. Ferreira says if there had been a dedicated obstetrical anesthetist working in maternity the C-section could have started sooner.

VIHA tried to hire a second anesthetist in 2009 but none would work for the $348,000 salary offered, which is the maximum allowed rate set by the province and the B.C. medical association.

Wale said he’s confident that staff at Victoria General are providing the best maternal care they can under the circumstances.

“The vast majority of births have a positive outcome,” he said. “We’re not working with limitless resources, but if there’s a way we could be doing better with what we have, I expect this external review will shine a bright light on that.”

Wale could not say at press time who would undertake the review. VIHA was working with the Ministry of Health and the B.C. Patient Safety and Quality Council to find a suitable reviewer.

The review is expected to be completed by early September.

Wale said VIHA hasn’t been subject to an external review since 2006, but thought it was important to call for one in this case.

“This has become a public confidence issue that we need to address,” he said. “We want to reassure pregnant mothers that we take this very seriously.”

news@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

Barriers to rental housing brought on by no-pet rules add stress to renters, says councillor. (Pixabay)
Saanich councillor wants to remove barriers to housing for pet owners

Motion calling for province to amend lease stipulations against pet ownership defeated in 5-4 vote

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read