Employee sues hospitals board
A former pharmacist at the island's general hospital has launched legal action against the Bermuda Hospitals Board for negligence that led her to need life-saving surgery overseas.
Dionne Smart claimed doctors at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital failed to identify E. coli bacteria in her system, despite blood tests that indicated she had an infection.
Ms Smart said: “It was only when I was under a physician's care at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston that I was told I was septic and they needed to operate on me urgently.”
She added doctors in Boston were forced to perform a hysterectomy to save her life. Ms Smart said: “Several ER physicians, radiologists, surgical residents and my former obstetrician/gynaecologist failed to correctly diagnose my condition, which left me septic and caused the loss of an organ.”
Now she has asked the courts to order the BHB to compensate her for “undue pain and emotional distress”.
Ms Smart also said the BHB failed to provide her with a safe working environment because of cladosporium mould in the pharmacy department.
A court summons said Ms Smart was hired by the BHB as a pharmacy technician in August 2007 and remained in the job until June.
Ms Smart complained she suffered breathing problems caused by mould at the hospital.
The summons said: “The plaintiff has filed numerous Quantros reports, which is the defendant's system of filing workplace incidents.
“The plaintiff has been informing the defendant of leaks and quality of air in the pharmacy department that affect the plaintiff's quality of life at work.
“The defendant has not conducted tests on the mould or asbestos that the plaintiff has identified in the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital basement.”
The complaint added: “Mould and asbestos are considered hazardous materials.”
Ms Smart attended the hospital's emergency department in 2014 and complained of pain in her stomach.
The summons said: “The physicians failed to conduct blood work or other tests on the plaintiff's chief area of discomfort, despite the plaintiff's complaint as to pain and suffering during the initial emergency room visits which would have alerted the physicians to the infection.
“The physicians negligently failed the plaintiff in that they never advised the plaintiff as to the infection that was present in her body.
“The plaintiff's blood work findings, however, did show presence of the infection.”
But Ms Smart said the hospital did not tell her that her white blood cell levels were above recommended levels.
She also said they failed to tell her that specialised blood tests — used to check for inflammation — showed significantly higher levels than normal.
The BHB did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.
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