Ten-year-old Sanjay Douglas has been released from hospital, where he underwent surgery for the fractured skull he sustained during athletics training at his school – Victoria Primary in Linstead, St Catherine.
His father, Dalvern ‘Sanjay’ Douglas, who is accusing the public school of negligence, is now fighting for Government to enter into a contract, accepting liability for any future medical complication arising from the injury.
Mr Douglas, a resident of Bambury in Linstead, told The Beacon that he has communicated his request to the Ministry of Education, and he is expecting a response when he meets with Ministry representatives this week.
“I sent the regional officer a message, and told him that any policy that has to be put in place should be a contract, which should protect my son for the rest of his life in case the injury affects him in the future because, when you get injury in the head, anything can happen in the next 10 or 20 years.
“He said that he acknowledged my message and that he will get back to me,” Mr Douglas disclosed, while explaining how his only child became injured.
He stated that he got a telephone call from the school on March 20, informing him that his child and another student collided while training to represent the institution at an athletic event.
Mr Douglas said the caller told him to visit the school and take his son to hospital, because the education ministry’s policy bans employees of the school from doing so.
He told The Beacon that he was about five minutes away, and so he went to the school and rushed his bleeding child to Linstead Public Hospital.
Medical personnel attended to the child immediately, Mr Douglas said.
“They rushed with him to do an emergency X-Ray, and the result came back and showed that his skull was broken. They had to do what they could to keep him alive at Linstead Hospital, but they could not do a surgery there,” Mr Douglas further explained.
“At one point, my son wasn’t breathing by himself; they had to have him on oxygen. They were wondering if they had to put him on life support because he went in seizure three times while they were working on him in Linstead. Linstead Hospital did all they could in their power to stabilize him enough to send him off to Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).”
Mr Douglas stated that, at KPH, his son underwent a CT scan within less than an hour, and subsequently was taken to Bustamante Hospital for Children.
“At Bustamante, they treated his case as an emergency. However, because my son was having seizures, they could not proceed with the surgery,” Mr Douglas explained.
“The CT scan result [from KPH] shows that the brain was not damaged, and the bone that was broken was not touching the brain. As a result, they said they would watch my son [at Bustamante Hospital] for 48 hours.”
Mr Douglas said his son eventually underwent operation on Monday, March 25. “My son had to do a surgery. They cut from his left ear to his right ear, pulled the skull forward, and put an iron beneath it to push back the bone in its rightful position,” the father disclosed.
He claimed that, throughout the ordeal, no one from the school contacted him to find out about the child’s medical condition.
Instead, they reported him to the police for bad behaviour. “They reported me to the police station and the police came to my house, and warned me,” Mr Douglas further told The Beacon.
He stated that he, along with relatives and friends, protested outside the school on Monday, March 25 – the same day his son underwent surgery in Kingston.
He further explained that, on the day of the protest, the Chairman of the school board contacted him to express concern. There were subsequent discussions with all parties, including the Principal who was on leave.
It is understood that neither the Principal nor the Guidance Counsellor was at the school at the time the child was injured. The school, however, has an Acting Principal.
The Ministry of Education said the Acting Principal and the Guidance Counsellor are travelling officers, and they are allowed to take an injured child to a medical facility even before contacting the relevant parents.
Meanwhile, Mr Douglas, who is not ruling out legal action against the government, is hoping for an out-of-court agreement.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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