Report on CAL baby due soon

A report prepared by two consultants associated with the Pan American Health Organisation concerning the circumstances leading to Jamaican Shellesha Woodstock giving birth aboard a Cayman Airways flight to Kingston on 2 October is expected to be completed soon.

‘The research work has now been completed and I expect to receive a report shortly,’ said Minister of Health Anthony Eden at the Cabinet press briefing Thursday.

One of the consultants retained to do the clinical audit on the matter is Dr. Rudolph Stevens, who is the regional technical director in the Jamaican Ministry of Health. Dr. Stevens is experienced in obstetrics and gynaecology and in public services and law.

The other consultant is Dr. Santosh Kulkarni, a senior lecturer in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at the University of West Indies, who is a high-risk pregnancy specialist.

The 29-weeks-pregnant Ms Woodstock went to the Cayman Islands Hospital on 1 October after her water broke. She claims a nurse and doctor at the hospital both advised her to have the baby in Jamaica instead of Cayman because it was too expensive here.

The doctor, Gilbretha Alexander, signed a letter authorizing Ms Woodstock to fly. Ms Woodstock boarded the Cayman Airways flight to Kingston early the next morning and gave birth shortly after take-off.

Some medical doctors in Cayman have stated Ms Woodstock should not have been allowed to fly after her water broke, citing the likelihood that active labour was imminent and the risks to a premature baby if it were born in flight.

Although the Health Services Authority, the body which administers the Cayman Islands Hospital, conducted its own investigation into the matter, Mr. Eden initiated the independent investigation as well.

The public will learn of the findings of the report once it’s submitted to the Ministry of Health.

‘The consultants will be available, if necessary, to brief the media on their findings, subject to the normal rules of medical confidentiality,’ Mr. Eden said during the press briefing.

In addition to that investigation, the Jamaican Consulate is also conducting its own investigation into the matter. Mr. Eden said he expected to receive the report on that investigation next week.

The Health Insurance Commission also said it would investigate the matter to determine if Ms Woodstock, who held a valid work permit in the Cayman Islands at the time of giving birth, had a valid health insurance policy as mandated by law. Ms Woodstock has stated she had a health insurance card from British American Insurance, but that company has refused to say whether the policy was still active.

Mr. Eden said Thursday he did not know if Ms Woodstock’s insurance policy was active or not, but that the consultants report would deal with that issue.

‘I told them to leave no stone unturned,’ Mr. Eden said.

If Ms Woodstock did have at least a valid standard health insurance contract, 80 per cent of the cost of her hospitalisation for childbirth would have been covered. There would have also been the same level of post-natal care coverage for her child for 30 days after birth.

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