$5 m. to care for sextuplets

Petra Lee Foon.
Petra Lee Foon.

PORT OF SPAIN — Close to $5 million was spent to purchase equipment for the special care of Trinidad and Tobago’s first sextuplets at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Mount Hope Women’s hospital.

The Express obtained a copy of the expenditure incurred for the delivery of the sextuplets, which totalled $4,943,758.19.

Among the list of equipment purchased were 12 radiant warmers costing $2.6 million, and 12 incubators at $1.3 million.

Health Minister Dr. Fuad Khan noted that a Guardian report stated concerns over the lack of equipment and resources of the NICU by its head, Dr. Camanee Lutchman, were ignored.

Khan said this was far from the truth, as the hospital speedily moved to ensure everything was in place and ready to ensure not only a smooth delivery, but post-care for the babies.

The March 4 birth of the sextuplets to parents Petra Lee Foon, a teacher, and Kieron Cummings, a bank employee, was a first for Trini≠dad and Tobago and the Carib≠bean.

They were delivered via Caesa≠rian-section by a large team of doctors, nurses and support staff.

On March 30, the first-born boy, Kaelan, died. The baby was critically ill since birth and succumbed to upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

On April 16, the youngest of the six, Paeton Christopher, died after developing an infection.

Three of the babies have been discharged, but baby Persia – the fifth to be born – remains in the NICU.

In December last year, an aunt of the sextuplets had sought information and help from the NICU at a Toronto hospital and made contact with Dr. Marlon Timothy, who is on a Trinidad and Tobago government fellowship in Canada.

Timothy wrote to Mt Hope’s Medical Chief of Staff, raising concerns over the treatment and care of Lee Foon and her babies.

In that e-mail, Timothy said he made the necessary enquiries and contacted Lee Foon herself.

“Petra Lee Foon, age 28 years G1. History of PCOS being treated with Metformin. Her obstetrician decided that she needed help getting pregnant and put her on Clomid 150 mg as a starting dose. She was hyperstimulated and well the rest is history,” stated Dr. Timothy in his e-mail, as he requested the relevant authorities step in with respect to the management of the case.

Khan told the Express yesterday that every concern raised was addressed and although the sextuplets’ family themselves in the company of former minister Verna St. Rose Greaves had come to him requesting Lee Foon be sent abroad for treatment, he stood his ground, as he had confidence in the local health sector.

“A lot of money was spent to put things in place to develop a programme and plan to assist mother and babies in the neonatal intensive care unit,” said Khan. (Express)

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