Chief Medical Officer, CMO, Doctor Merlene Fredericks, has expressed deep sadness at the death of a pregnant mother and her unborn child at St. Jude Hospital on Saturday evening.
The deceased has been identified as thirty year old Sylvania Emmanuel.
Fredericks said the Ministry of Health has done a preliminary investigation, and so far it appears that there may have been some underlying medical conditions which contributed to the young woman’s demise.
Nevertheless she disclosed that before the end of the week, the Ministry of Health will commission a full inquiry to ensure that correct procedures were followed in the case, as the results of an autopsy are awaited to determine the cause of death.
“From our investigations so far it does appear that when she came in on the Saturday evening she was quite distressed and so in spite of the urgent emergency management which she received, the outcome was unfavourable,” the CMO said.
She stressed that every woman has the right to have a safe, healthy and sensitive delivery during her pregnancy, but revealed that while Saint Lucia’s maternal mortality statistics are low, the Island has a challenge in terms of infant mortality.
“ We do need to decrease the number of deaths we are having from infants, especially in the perinatal period,” Fredericks declared.
She said that recognizing this, the Ministry of Health commissioned an audit last year of delivery processes, in which a team from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO, identified gaps in the system.
“We have taken steps to address those and continue working in that area,” Fredericks said.