A Sri Lankan family recently found themselves at the centre of media attention after their son, born healthy via a caesarean section, later suffered a catastrophic brain injury due to medical negligence.
Now aged eight, he suffers with cerebral palsy as a result and is significantly impacted with impaired cognitive and physical abilities.
As medical negligence specialists supporting families who have suffered significant injuries due to medical errors, our cases often include mastering very complex medical circumstances and unravelling precise granular details to get to the truth.
In this case however, the baby boy was delivered in a perfectly healthy condition. His young 21-year-old mum did not speak English however, and was shy of character.
Following his birth, he cried a lot and his mother attempted to get the attention of the attending midwives but her concerns were reportedly dismissed and she was discharged from hospital early.
We can only presume that this was her first child. As a new mother, it was vital that she received medical advice on how and when to feed her new-born and what to do should her baby experience problems with feeding as can sometimes be the case.
Speaking very limited English however, medical staff failed to involve an interpreter to ensure that this new mum left the hospital knowing exactly how to sustain and care for her baby.
During a subsequent home visit, the little boy was found with a pale appearance and was lethargic. It transpired that he had not been fed for 15 hours and he had very low blood pressure leading to irreversible brain damage.
Pregnancy and birth can lead to unexpected medical complications. In these circumstances medical staff are duty bound to provide the best possible care for mother and baby carrying out any appropriate tests, adequately and correctly reading the results, and delivering any required care in a timely manner.
This mother simply needed an interpreter and in this unique case, the lack of the appropriate level of patient care has changed her son and whole family’s lives forever.
During our medical negligence investigations working with some of the best medical minds in the country, our cases are often very difficult to prove because the difference between a child being born perfectly healthy and catastrophically injured can sometimes be down to a difference of just a few short minutes of delayed action.
This family simply didn’t receive the most basic patient care of adequate communication and supportive instructions on how to care for their new baby and advice on what they could do if they ran into any problems feeding him.
Having successfully delivered a health baby, the medical staff involved then sadly fell short of giving this patient the support she needed to look after her child. The media have reported that the family could receive multi-million-pound medical negligence compensation following the incident.
This level of NHS payout would be entirely appropriate to cover the lifetime needs of this boy who will need ongoing support via therapy, specialist equipment and likely requirement for home adaptations to make every day living easier.
The NHS Trust responsible in this case has reported that improvements have been implemented since this incident took place. What this case has highlighted is that medical duty of care doesn’t simply end when a baby is delivered.
To read more about the medical negligence compensation we have secured for families click here.
If you believe that your family has suffered due to medical negligence, contact our specialist team of medical and legal experts on 01253 766 559 or email us with a summary of the NHS Trust involved, the dates of the incident and brief details of the injury at firstname.lastname@example.org.