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Doctor and Staff Negligence? - Full Term Healthy Baby then Given Hours to Live


TonyDosa
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Dear All,

 

We would like some advice on a situtation we have just been through. We would like to know if you think there is a negligence claim, and if so what steps and advice.

 

Our Baby Boy XXXXX was born on the 28th Feb 2011 by emergency C-section, as a blood sample from his head showed slight signs of distress. The doctor decided to operate immediately and within 20 minutes XXXXX was born. XXXXX was a healthy weight of 7lb 7oz and the doctors in theatre said everything is ok. As a precaution both XXXXX and my Wife were taken to a recovery room to be monitored. In recovery XXXXX managed to latch on and have a feed. His eyes were wide open and we were the happiest parent alive.

9am that same morning the mid wife decided everything was ok and they should be taken up to the ward. They got settled into the ward and were informed the paediatrician would pay a routine visit. After around an hour or so, we both noticed that XXXXX seemed very unsettled and asked the midwife to see if he was ok. She had a look and said he’s a newborn just playing up? As first time parents we took her advice and carried on. As the hours went by, his breathing became worse; he stopped feeding, no dirty nappies and would not stop crying. We asked the mid wife’s on a number of occasions to see if he is ok, and the reply was simply he’s a new born and he just a little restless. At around 5pm I went out to freshen up and returned at 6pm. XXXXX looked a different baby! His skin colour had changed; he was grunting and looked like he was struggling. I then forced a mid wife to call a doctor and up came a paediatrician from the neonatal ward. She took one look at him and took him straight into intensive care. I asked her, is everything ok and replied I’m not sure whats wrong him.

I returned to the ward to my wife and informed her of the situation. We both sat on the bed hugging each other not knowing what’s happening. We then decided to go to intensive care at around 8pm for an update. There were a number of doctors and nurses around XXXXX and drips and drugs were surrounding him. The paediatrician told us to let them do what they have to do and we will inform you of any changes. We asked what’s wrong with XXXXX, and the reply was some sort of blood infection? We returned upstairs and were given a private room. We sat and waited for which seemed like days until we received a phone call at 2am, the next morning. We went to intensive care and the paediatrician told us that XXXXX has 2 hours to live due to the infection taking over his body. Our poor boy was blue, yellow and blotchy in colour. We thought how could this happen?........

Our parents then arrived to offer us support and to say goodbye to their grandson who was only a day old. 2 hours went by, and then 6 hours went by. We were by his bedside at all times and asking the docs for updates. They were just waiting for him to go, and we were praying for him to stay. The hours went by, and then a day went by. At this point blood samples were in labs, XXXXX was ventilated, he was having fits and seizures, he wasn’t passing urine and was on a number of drugs, but was not giving up.

On day 2 the senior paediatrician took us into a private room to inform us of the situation. He told us that he has a serious blood infection which they can’t pinpoint and is very poorly. He then said, XXXXX is showing no signs of getting through this, so do you think we’re doing the right thing by keeping him alive? My thoughts were for XXXXX not to suffer anymore, but my wife insisted to give him a chance.

On day 3 the same meeting took place. The senior paediatrician words were he’s not getting better so do you think we’re doing the right thing by keeping XXXXX like this? We both said if he’s made it to day 3 from only being given 2 hours then surely there’s hope. We insisted that everything should be done to save our boy. The final words of the consultant were that if XXXXX has a heart attack then it’s unfair to save him? We agreed with this and off we went to XXXXXX side.

In the following days XXXXX managed to have a wee to show signs of his kidneys working. He was given blood and plasma to clot his blood. The blood results came back with no common infections? He was then given a lumber puncture to check for meningitis and the results were not meningitus. Day by day XXXXX began to shows signs of recovery. He was gagging on his ventilator, which was a good sign to show he was irritated by this. He then began to pass urine every few hours. His fits calmed down and began to move.

In all we were in NICU for almost 8 weeks. The doctors did an MRI scan which showed brain damage due to lack of oxygen to the brain. The docs said his hearing and sight will be affected and a possibility of Cerebral Palsy .

We took XXXXX home on April the 4th. XXXXX seems to be getting on ok, but he does show some signs of slow development. XXXXX seems to keep tense when asleep, and when he gets stressed his legs shoot up. He favours to keep his head on one side. XXXXX has also just started to smile.

On the whole we believe there has been neglect in various stages and areas of the hospital. Firstly because XXXXX was given a prick test on his scalp, it should have been sterile dressed when born which it was not. Next he was never seen by a paediatrician on the ward as part of a routine with all babies. If he was seen earlier then maybe they would have noticed something? We raised alarm bells an around 5 occasions to say XXXXX was not well, but we were told he’s playing up. If it wasn’t for me acting on this, then XXXXX would have collapsed on the ward. Another thing that really bugs me is that fact the senior paediatrician asked us whether to keep XXXXX alive on 2 occasions! On the first meeting I nearly gave up! To this date we still don’t know what infection XXXXX caught, but on his notes its Sepsis. Only 2 weeks ago, the neonatal ward was closed, as they found MSSA on a number of babies. The paediatrician himself was on the news and stated that if this gets into the blood, then the consequences could be fatal.

To this date we believe XXXXX caught MSSA of the ward from his open cut on his head. He should have been treated earlier to prevent the infection getting worse and to prevent the lack of oxygen to his brain. We are not sure what the future holds for XXXXX in terms of Cerabal Palsy, Brain Damage and development, but we are grateful that we have him in our lives. (We do thank all the nurses and doctors that helped XXXXX through his traumatic journey)

Thanky ou for taking time out to read our special story.

XXXXXXXXXX and XXXXX.

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Hi Tony

 

Welcome to CAG

 

You've been through quite a bit and as you say your son is making good progress, He's clearly a fighter. I think what you need to do is see a Medical Negligence Solicitor, get some free advice as to the merits of any claims you may have. I think the guys here would have to be medically trained to comment.

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Thanks for your reply rebel. I agree that we need to talk to a solicitor.

 

But we would really like to know he we did have a strong case before we get in touch with solicitors and proceed with action.

 

 

 

 

Hi Tony

 

Welcome to CAG

 

You've been through quite a bit and as you say your son is making good progress, He's clearly a fighter. I think what you need to do is see a Medical Negligence Solicitor, get some free advice as to the merits of any claims you may have. I think the guys here would have to be medically trained to comment.

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I think it is going to be very difficult to comment as to whether there is a strong case, you need a specialist on this.

 

I must admit that my first thought when I read the thread was that you dont - this was clearly a fast changing situation, and although at times the doctors appear to have not quite behaved properly, there is a big difference between that and negligence. But that is simply my personal opinion, with no medical knowledge, hence why you need to see a specialist.

 

Bear in mind that from what I have heard, NHS negligence cases are incredibly fraught drawn out affairs, so you need to weigh up the impact this will have on your life, and your enjoyment of your life with your new addition.

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Only a Medical Negligence Solicitor can look at the merits of your case. You could contact CAB and see if they can advise in

any way.

 

Thanks for your reply rebel. I agree that we need to talk to a solicitor.

 

But we would really like to know he we did have a strong case before we get in touch with solicitors and proceed with action.

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My heart goes out to you and your little family. What a way to start your life together!

 

There is a service in some hospitals call 'birth afterthoughts' which is a counselling session whereby you get to speak to a specially trained midwife and go through everything that happened during labour and afterwards. Maybe that would be an option for you all as you rightly have lots of questions that need answering.

 

Maybe after that, you will know more about what happened and why and be able to make a decision about whether to claim or not.

 

Contact the Supervisor of Midwives at the hospital and they should be able to help you further x

"In this situation, you know what you have to do? Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." Dory - Finding Nemo.:wink:

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First and foremost - Best wishes to your baby and yourselves.

 

Next, IF, (and it is a big 'if') there has been negligence, what outcome(s) are you aiming for?, such as:

1) An explanation of what happened / how it happened / what they might change or improve to prevent it recurring. Tied in with thisis that sometimes patients / families can feel that the doctors aren't telling them everything, and sometimes people litigate to find out "the truth",

2) Financial compensation for any support your baby needs for adjustments needed to compensate for any damage / loss of ability caused by any negligence,

3) To "punish" any wrongdoing / wrongdoer,

4) To have your concerns "heard", if you feel they haven't been listened to so far, and any other outcomes you are looking for.

 

Not all of these outcomes are best / most quickly obtained by litigation ; you might want to look at other avenues first, with litigation held "in reserve" for if you find it is needed or your only way forward.

 

What happened and what to expect for the future are best answered by doctors - and the most informed doctors about your baby at the moment are the team looking after him. So, do you feel they are telling you everything, and that the changes from "your baby is fine" to "your baby is very ill" was because things changed (they can change quickly) - because if you think they are deliberately hiding information then you might not want to go down the path I'd suggest if you DO have confidence that they are now being open and honest : arrange a meeting with the consultant in charge of your baby's care, to ask the questions you want answered, and explain what your questions and concerns are. Since you have mentioned MSSA, one line of questioning might be to ask if any bugs likely to be the cause of the sepsis were grown from any of the culture samples taken, or any MSSA from any of the samples taken.

 

If you don't feel able to discuss things direct or want to talk it through with someone first, consider talking to PALS (Patient Advice Liaison Service for Derby Hospitals) - they are on 0800 783 7691 or [email protected] Although PALS teams are employed by the Trust, they offer confidential advice. (Details found by using Google, as I suspect I'm not allowed to post URL's)

At least one of the links I tried on google gave a "page not found" page on that trust's website .... If you get this, just put "PALS" into the search box on that trust's webpage.

 

To summarise : litigation would be a "long road" to take, and one you can always take later if needed. First steps I'd suggest is to work out what "outcomes" you want from any complaint / enquiry, and consider getting PALS to help you achieve those : you might then find litigation isn't needed, or if it is, you may already have a better idea of what you want to achieve through litigation.

again, best wishes to you and your baby.

 

BazzaS

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Another thing that really bugs me is that fact the senior paediatrician asked us whether to keep XXXXX alive on 2 occasions!

 

I'm not wanting to get defensive of this doctor, but can you imagine a different family posting a similar situation but for theirs:

a) sadly their baby died, but after an awful week (awful for the baby and family), and

b) the family posts to say that "no one sought our views on if he should be kept alive when he was so desperately ill".

 

I'd imagine that if it was clear any baby would survive that this type of conversation wouldn't be brought up. If it was clear a baby was going to die then I doubt it'd be discussed, though they'd say "if he has a heart attack we won't be trying to resuscitate him as he is too ill" - the fact they did say this last phrase shows they were making decisions on any limitations on treatment ; is it possible they were "asking for your views" rather than "asking for you to make the decision"?

 

If they were asking for your views, is this such a bad thing? (though perhaps the issue is how you perceived it was asked).

 

Again, all the best,

BazzaS.

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what an terrible experience for you all . I'm a pediatrics nurse with extensive experience with newborns . And babies that seem extremely healthy one minute can collapse the next. On the information supplied, the doctors actions do appear reasonable. But not the midwives , they had an baby born by emergency c section for fetal distress-so needing to be closly monitored -whose condition was detorating .Even when the child had obvious respiratory distress the nursing staff didn't notice let react by contacting the physician. So there is a strong possibility that there was neglect here by the nursing staff . But if you follow the NHS complaints procedure you face years of trying to make the hospital accept responsibility for what happened to your son- if they ever do! I would say contact a good solicitor who deals with birth injuries and see what they say.

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Hi TonyDosa.

 

I have just read your very thorough account above.

My deepest sympathy for a very traumatic time in your famlies lives.

 

As your account is so thorough it is very difficult to pinpoint where the errors lie, if there were any, or if it was a case of contributing factors.

You were seen by Paediatricians and your son was in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) so he would have had the correct level of staff expertise.

 

Infections are treated as they are isolated by the laboratory from samples of blood or other bodily fluids. Treatment can be started for suspected infections before these results are available with broad spectrum antibiotics.

An MSSA infection ( Methicilin Sensitive Staphylococcus Aureus) Staphylococcus Aureus is a bacterium that is commonly found in the nose and on the skin of at least 30% of the population and does not cause any problem. It only becomes a problem when it enters the human body.

 

Sepsis would indicate an infection but not identify what the bacteria was. This would be identified by the laboratory and treated specifically.

 

The issue of the lack of oxygen to your sons brain at birth or the hours that followed, needs to be addressed as to what was the possible cause or contributing factors if any.

 

I wish you the best of luck in getting the answers you are after.

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Firstly I would like to thank you all for your input. I still believe this situation could have been prevented.

 

The cut on my sons head should have been sterile dressed or covered in some form. The cut was approx 1cm and once born was wiped over with hospital towels.

 

Secondly he should have been seen by a peadiatrition in recovery or on the ward at the least.

 

Thirdly on the ward we expressed concern on a number of occasions and no one took us seriously resulting in our son being treated to late.

 

I do accept the fact that once in NICU he was treated immediately and the staff did everything they could, but the fact remains our son was I'll from birth and no one picked this up?

 

Thanks Again

 

Tony

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With blood borne infections, speed of treatment is incredibly important. Neonatal sepsis is a leading cause of infant death and midwives should be aware of the possibility and be on the lookout for it. It appears if you have a case it hinges on the lack of action by the midwives and lack of paediatric follow up. Although with medical records other things may become apparent.

 

Whether you win the case or not will depend on proving that the symptoms your baby was having at the time they were dismissed by the midwife were of a severity that a reasonable midwife would have called for a paediatrician to examine the baby, and also that the paediatrician would have recognised the symptoms as possible septicaemia. Are there tests that the midwife should have done just in case? - an easy one that comes to mind is to check temperature as your baby would have had a temperature changes.

 

Another factor in any claim would be proving the sepsis caused the developmental problems or cerebral palsy and not the fetal distress and oxygen deprivation during delivery.

 

Also have you been made aware that any future children your wife gives birth to should be closely monitored and possibly given prophylactic antibitics - dependant on the strain of bacteria. Have you even been told the strain of bacteria? If it is a hospital infection then your case becomes even stronger.

 

My experience is that patients and families are rarely given all the information, and if there is the suspician by staff that there may have been some negligence, then they do protect themselves and close ranks. Have you requested a copy of your baby's medical records from the hospital yet? This is where I would start and then take them to a solicitor experienced in this area.

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Thanks to everyone who has taken time out to read our story and thanks to all the replies.

 

Just an update, we have began legal proceedings against the hospital. A number of solicitors have adviced us we have a strong case for hospital neglect in the fact that our son was only attended to by a hospital care worker and not a midwife for over 9 hours. A paediatrician should have seen him as soon as we raised the alarm but were simply dismissed.

 

It's going to be a long and lengthy process, but at the end of this we need answers, closure and for it to never happen to any child and family.

 

Many thanks

 

Tony

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Wishing you well with your claim Tony.You and your son deserve the answers and closure as you say.Let us know how things go........it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Keep up the fight against Bank Charges.

 

 

Got Debt problems?

Don't panic, put the kettle on and read this

 

:-) Everything I write comes from my heart and head! The large filling cabinet that is my knowledge of life, however warped that may be!! :-)

 

<<< Please tickle my star!! if I have managed to help you or just made you chuckle!

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  • 1 month later...

My heart goes out to you Tony and your family and wish you all the very best in the future, on reading your post I agree with you that it appears to be lack of acting on your concerns by the midwives. I am sure that XXXXX is an absolute pleasure and an angel.

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It must have been an awful time for you both as well as family, it does seem to be negligence somewhere, but pinpointing would not be easy.

 

Hospitals and not a good place to be in because not all of them have good professionals like Nigh Owl.

 

Dr and Nurses from EU countries do not speak or understand English and that is not good when dealing with very sick vulnerable patients.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2035316/Lord-Winstons-stark-warning-NHS-workers-Romania-Bulgaria.html

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14921565

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2038170/Foreign-doctors-trained-work-UK.html

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