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Colon of girl, 2, ruptured
A two-year-old girl is now warded in a critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Wendy Fitzwilliam Paediatric Hospital in Mt Hope, after she was punched repeatedly in the stomach and back by a close female friend of the family last Saturday.
The toddler suffered a ruptured colon during the beating and doctors worked on her in a two-and-half hour emergency operation to repair the damaged done.
Doctors also discovered that part of the toddler’s bowel had gangrene. Based on the doctors’ assessment following their examination of the child, they concluded she had been cuffed repeatedly in the stomach and back over a period of time.
The toddler is currently hooked up to life support at the hospital.
The findings by the medical doctors prompted a full-scale investigation by the T&T Police Service’s Child Protection Unit (CPU). Since then CPU investigators have been visiting the ICU every day to get latest updates on the toddler’s condition.
Investigators are expected to receive a medical report from the hospital soon.
Yesterday, the toddler’s parents broke down in tears during an interview with the T&T Guardian outside ICU, saying doctors had been advising them their daughter could die.
“We have been crying non-stop just hearing this news. It is just too much to handle. There is a slim chance of her surviving. She is not breathing on her own and is about 90 per cent sedated,” the child’s father told the T&T Guardian.
Explaining what led to the incident, the 42-year-old father said he left his daughter in the care of a female friend at his Diego Martin apartment around 7.30 pm last Saturday to drop off someone. When he returned three hours later, he noticed a bump on the child’s forehead and was told she had fallen down.
“That night my daughter started to vomit. She vomited seven times in small amounts and became restless.”
The father said the friend, who is a nurse, advised him the child was only bringing up small amounts of bile as she had not used the toilet in a while and he should not worry. At 6 am on Sunday, however, the father said his daughter started to cry and became very agitated.
“That’s when I realised that something was wrong and rushed her to the hospital.”
Following emergency surgery on the child, the father said doctors were unable to stitch her up due to swelling around her stomach and arteries.
“On Monday she will be returning to the operating theatre to close in her stomach.”
With all kinds of emotions running through his mind, the father said he never expected the 39-year-old female friend to carry out such an inhumane act on an innocent child.
The mother, 27, who lives in St James, now blames herself for allowing the child to live with her father in the last two months.
“I feel like I made a mistake…a big mistake by sending my little girl there. Now, look what has happened. She has been living with me since she born and nothing like this ever happened,” the weeping mother said.
The mother said she had no idea her daughter often had fever and felt sick, which the father kept from her.
“He kept assuring me that everything was okay because I never went to his home. For gangrene to develop it would take a while. She had an infection in her bowels. Part of her bowels was removed during surgery. How did this happen? Why? Why?” the mother said.
On Sunday, the father said CPU investigators took a brief verbal statement from the perpetrator, who denied hitting the child.
“The police, however, have to question the perpetrator’s 16-year-old daughter one more time. The daughter has admitted that her mother did in fact hit the toddler twice on her back and legs in my absence, but was not sure how hard the blows were.
“The police have a statement from the daughter,” he said.
The father is yet to give the police a statement, adding he has since left the woman.
“I have not spoken to her since I left. I just want justice. This woman has to pay for what she did.”
An officer at the CPU yesterday described the investigations as “sensitive,” but assured that a comprehensive investigation will be done and upon completion will be given legal advisers for further instructions.
Investigations are continuing.
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