News Releases

UWIs statement regarding incident at Mt Hope Maternity Hospital

For Release Upon Receipt - March 12, 2014

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is saddened at the loss of baby Simeon’s life and at the time of this unfortunate event, wishes to extend sincere condolences to the family. Given the recent media reports emerging on this matter, it has become necessary for The UWI to intervene and clarify the standard operating procedures relative to its Consultants operating in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the Mt. Hope Maternity Hospital, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex. 

At the above-named hospital, the North-Central Regional Health Authority (RHA) has four teams (or Units) in Obstetrics & Gynaecology (O&G); of the four Units, three are led by RHA Consultants and one (Unit A) is led by UWI Consultants. The UWI-led team is the only Unit within O&G that has two Consultants - both of whom are UWI staff and who also do clinics, ward rounds and teach surgeries in addition to being on-call on a rotational basis. UWI’s Consultants operating at the RHA are Honorary Consultants to the RHA and supervise junior medical staff who are employed by the RHA. 

In this particular case, one of The UWI’s Consultants from Unit A was on pre-approved leave (of which the RHA was duly notified) while the other was on call. Standard operating procedures set by the Ministry of Health provide that Caesarean sections in all high risk cases should have a Registrar or Consultant in attendance. At the Mt Hope Maternity Hospital, it is the established practice that an experienced Specialist Registrar would conduct the C-Section but would have access to advice and support and, if needed, intervention by the Consultant. Standard practice  under the Trinidad & Tobago health care system does not require an on-call Consultant to be present at the time of a C-Section being conducted, unless there is a special need to do so. 

In the case of Mrs. Quelly Ann Cottle, the Specialist Registrar (employed by the RHA, with no conditions or restrictions to functioning in this capacity) who undertook the procedure, is an experienced Specialist Registrar in O&G who holds the MRCOG - Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Certificate (London). The records will indicate that he has also performed, within the last two years alone, over 100 unsupervised and successful C-Sections at the Mt. Hope Maternity Hospital, including those for high-risk pregnancies. It is within this context that when Mrs. Cottle’s C-Section was scheduled, the UWI Consultant who was on call, and was accessible, was not requested to be in attendance.  

Medical practitioners from The UWI’s Faculty of Medical Sciences at the St Augustine Campus have been serving the people of this country, the region and internationally with distinction since 1967 and they will continue to perform their duties diligently in the interest of the health and well-being of all. The UWI as a responsible institution providing critical academic and clinical support services to the RHAs in the discharge of their functions within the public health care system will continue to strengthen its processes and systems to ensure that its role and functions in such environments remain relevant and cutting-edge.  

For further information, please contact the Dean's Office, Faculty of Medical Sciences, at (868) 645-2640 ext.5025


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 48,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding Higher Education Institute (HEI) in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation.  

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.) 

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  • Dean's Office, Faculty of Medical Sciences

  • Faculty/Department

    Faculty of Medical Sciences

  • Tel.: 645-2640 ext.5025
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