Man sues BHB for $2.6m over wife’s death

  • Wedding day: Kemar Maybury and his late wife, Latifa

    Wedding day: Kemar Maybury and his late wife, Latifa

A hospital misdiagnosis was a significant factor in the death of a young mother from cancer six years ago, a lawyer claimed yesterday.

Latifa Maybury, who was 30, died in November 2013, six months after she gave birth to her son, Khaleel.

Her colorectal cancer was diagnosed days after the boy was born in May 2013, after it had gone unnoticed throughout her pregnancy, despite prenatal checks and several visits to the hospital’s emergency room.

Kemar Maybury, Ms Maybury’s husband, later launched legal action against the Bermuda Hospitals Board for $2.6 million in damages.

Jai Pachai, Mr Maybury’s lawyer, told the court that two different doctors had said that if Ms Maybury had received proper treatment in August 2012, she would have had between a 45 per cent and 60 per cent chance of survival.

The Supreme Court heard that the couple had gone to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in August 2012 after blood appeared in Mrs Maybury’s stool.

The pair brought a bag that contained a sample of toilet paper with blood on it.

A doctor at the hospital said Mrs Maybury had haemorrhoids and the couple were told that a summary of the emergency room visit would be sent to her general practitioner — but that was never done.

Mr Maybury told the court that he and his wife “had done everything that we should have done” by going to the hospital and giving an accurate account of her symptoms.

He said: “We’ve always felt that they should have just done the right thing, which was to take accountability, not only for their technological negligence, but also for their medical negligence and misdiagnosis.”

Allan Doughty, the BHB’s counsel, suggested to Mr Maybury that the couple were told at the hospital in August 2012 that she should be referred for a colonoscopy. Mr Maybury said: “No, they didn’t.”

Mr Doughty added that the doctor who had seen Mrs Maybury had said that she “thought” the rectal bleeding was caused by haemorrhoids.

But Mr Maybury said: “No, she said that’s exactly what it was.”

Mr Doughty also claimed that Mr and Ms Maybury were told by the doctor that if the bleeding continued, an appointment would have to be made through Ms Maybury’s GP to have a colonoscopy done.

Mr Maybury said: “From my knowledge, it’s actually not the patient’s duty to arrange the colonoscopy.

“That is to be done via the specialist or the examining doctor.” He added: “She did mention the information that she had gathered would be sent to the GP so that the GP could follow up with us or with the hospital.”

Mr Pachai said that the court had to determine if the delay in diagnosis of Ms Maybury’s cancer had contributed to her death.

He said: “There can be little doubt that the delay in properly diagnosing Latifa’s rectal cancer over a period of at least nine months ultimately led to that cancer spreading through her body, and in particular her liver, resulting in her tragic death.”

The case continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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