Last Friday’s High Court judgement, which found that the Ministry of Health failed to provide specialised health care to a six-year-old Chaguanas boy with birth defects associated with the Zika virus, is now being appealed by the State.
High Court Judge Joan Charles upheld a judicial review lawsuit brought by Kavita Ramkissoon-Ragoo on behalf of her son who was born in 2017 with Microcephaly from the Zika virus.
Justice Charles ruled that the Health Minister, Trevor Deyalsingh and the ministry’s permanent secretary, breached their duties under the Regional Health Authorities Act by failing to implement comprehensive guidelines and protocols for treating Davyn and other children like him.
She said it constituted a breach of T&T’s international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Justice Charles ruled that the ministry’s failure to provide urgent and specialised care to the child, breached his constitutional right to life and ordered that he and his family receive compensation, including aggravated damages, which will be calculated by a High Court Master. She also ordered that the ministry begin providing Davyn with the treatment he needs and provide financial assistance to his family.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, in a GML report, said the state will be appealing the judgement.
Former Chief of Staff at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital and president of the Zika Foundation Dr Karen Sohan, told GML in that same report that she was disappointed that the state is choosing to use taxpayer funds to appeal the case instead of providing Zika-affected children and their families with the help they need.