National Health Services sued

By Staff Writer ,

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The National Health Services (N.H.S) is being sued for more than $350,000 by a family alleging negligence in the performance of service, which led to the loss of a life.

According to a statement of claim obtained by the Sunday Samoan, the lawsuit is being brought by Fetunai Saunia, the husband of the alleged victim, the late Moira Avea Lamese, who is a former employee of N.H.S. 

Filed by lawyer, Sarona Ponifasio, with the Supreme Court on 28 June 2016, the claim is seeking: 

(a) General damages for loss of dependency: $282,360.00 

(b) Special damages for medical and funeral expenses: $28,345.00 

(c) Estate claim: $50,000.00 

(d) Costs of and incidental to this action; and 

(e) Such further or other relief as the Court thinks fit.

The claim states that the deceased, who was pregnant at the time of her death, had a history as an asthmatic patient.

“The deceased has had multiple admissions at the National Hospital since about 2011 due to asthmatic attacks,” the claim reads. “That on or about 14 February 2011, she was admitted for pneumonia. The deceased was continuously prescribed antibiotics and steroids. 

On 1 April 2015, Moira had a prenatal check up. “(a) The Deceased had an ultrasound for obstetric and upper abdomen. The x-ray results for her upper abdominal showed, amongst other matters, that her kidneys were enlarged, and all other parts appeared normal. The obstetric results showed, amongst other matters, the existence of a single live foetus and that there were no obvious fetal abnormality seen; 

(b) The Deceased’s prenatal record noted, amongst other matters, that the Deceased: (i) was a primigravida; (ii) has an asthmatic medical history; and (iii) has a diabetic family history. 

(c) The Deceased’s prenatal record also noted her expected delivery date to be 5 August 2015, which is consistent with her x-ray results. 

“On or about 4 April 2015 at about 6.40am, the Deceased attended the National Hospital at the Outpatient, and was noted to have had an acute exacerbation of asthma. She was prescribed at least 3 ventolin nebulisers and steroids. 

“On or about 7 April 2015 at about 1800 hours, the Deceased again attended the National Hospital at the Outpatient, and was noted to have had cough, respiratory and chest wheeze, amongst other matters. She was prescribed half-hourly ventolin nebuliser and steroids. She was noticed to have been settled by about 8.40pm.”

“On or about 13 April 2015, the Deceased travelled to New Zealand. 

“On 29 April 2015 at about 0351hours, the Deceased was admitted at the Wellington Hospital for asthma exacerbation. The Deceased was treated with nebulisers and steroids with step down to inhaler until she was discharged with medication at about 1334 hours. The Deceased was noted to be 5 months pregnant with her first child, and that the baby was moving well with no concerns. 

“On or about 2 May 2015, the Deceased returned to Samoa. On or about 10 May 2015 at about 2000 hours, the Deceased again attended the National Hospital at the Outpatient, and she was prescribed continuous ventolin nebuliser and oxygen, and steroids. She was noticed to have been settled by about 2355 hours. 

“On or about 12 May 2015, the Deceased had another ultrasound for obstetric. The x- ray results showed, amongst other matters, the existence of a single live foetus presented cephalically, and that there were no obvious fetal abnormality seen. The results also noted the expected delivery date to be 8 August 2015. 

“On or about 3 June 2015, the Deceased was admitted to the National Hospital for gestational induced diabetes and obesity. The Deceased’s blood sugar level (“BSL”) was monitored and was given ongoing insulin injections. 

Particulars (a) On 3 June 2015, the Deceased’s BSL were noted to be stable and she was required to continue her insulin and to take aspirin. 

(b) On 5 June 2015 at about 0900 hours, the Deceased had uncontrolled BSL and asthmatic attacks. Her insulin and ventolin nebulisers treatment continued. 

(c) On 7 June 2015 at about 0900 hours, the Deceased’s BSL was still uncontrolled, and she had ongoing cough. Her insulin was increased to 20 units and she continued to have ventolin nebulisers. 

(d) On 11 June 2015 in the morning, the deceased’s BSL continued to be monitored and was recommended to continue her treatment with insulin injection. (e) On 13 June 2015, the Deceased’s BSL were uncontrolled and she was given high insulin doses. Her ventolin nebulisers and inhaler also continued.

(f) On 14 June 2015, the Deceased improved but it was recommended that her treatment continued.” 

On 15 June 2015, the claim says that the deceased was examined and it was noted that her BSL were stable. She was discharged with all her medication. 

“On 18 June 2015, the Deceased again attended the National Hospital at the Outpatient due to ongoing coughing and asthmatic attack. She was recommended for antenatal care on 26 June 2015. 

“On 20 June 2015, while at her home at Gagaifo, Lefaga in the afternoon, the Deceased experienced multiple coughing and tightness around her chest. The Deceased administered her inhaler and insulin injection. The Deceased eventually requested to be taken to the hospital and she was then rushed to the Leulumoega District Hospital being the closer hospital to her village. 

“When the Deceased reached the Leulumoega District Hospital, she was pronounced dead.”

The plaintiff is also claiming loss of dependency, special damages including medical and funeral expenses as well as estates claim. 

The matter is scheduled to be called in the Supreme Court this week.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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