Statement from the Ministry of Health Regarding the Recent Death of a Baby at the JNF General Hospital

The attention of the J.N.F. General Hospital and the Ministry of Health has been drawn to the circumstances surrounding the recent passing of an infant at the institution and the social media posts that have been in circulation since July 14, 2019. The Executive Management Committee of the J.N.F. General Hospital and the Ministry of Health are using this medium to convey deepest condolences to the mother of the infant and the relatives on the loss of their loved one. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this very difficult time.

The Ministry of Health is also using this opportunity to underscore commendation to the staff members who provided medical care to the infant and the mother. The Ministry of Health divorces itself from the social medial posts that were made on Sunday July 14, 2019. The statements in the social media posts do not accurately reflect the circumstances surrounding the occurrence. The Ministry also wishes to note that the pregnancy would have been deemed high risk by virtue of the limited prenatal visits that would have been made to our public health system. The Ministry wants to emphasize that expired medication was not administered to the infant and death was not caused by the lack of medication. This was confirmed by an autopsy which was performed by a forensic pathologist earlier this week.

The social media posts represent a significant breach of medical practitioner – patient confidentiality and a breach of the ethical code that governs the medical profession. The Ministry of Health would like to assure the general public that:

1. The staff members at the Maternity Ward, J.N.F. General Hospital are called upon to be professional and committed to the ethical code that governs the medical profession; ~

2. The staff have all signed the Oath of Confidentiality which demands their respect for patient’s private information which must be held in the strictest confidence;

3. The staff members continuously receive in-service training to ensure the delivery of standard level of medical care to all patients. Pharmaceutical products or medication utilized at the J.N.F. General Hospital are procured through the OECS pharmaceutical procurement system (PPS). The Ministry of Health contributes monetarily to this pooled procurement system to ensure the availability of essential medication at all times. The Ministry of Health wants to assure the public that the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement System works. The Ministry of Health is committed to the continuous /perpetual strengthening of the health services delivered at the J.N.F. General Hospital to meet the needs of the Federation.

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