Case Study: Infant Death

Compensation: £100,000

Annabelle, 10 months old, Oldham

A mother has successfully obtained £100,000 compensation after medical negligence from professionals led to the death of her young child.

Annabelle was born following an uncomplicated pregnancy. At the delivery her mother Linda, developed protein in her urine, with elevated blood pressure. Linda was induced and Annabelle was born by a Ventouse delivery. At birth, she was very floppy and had difficulty even sucking and swallowing. Annabelle remained in hospital for a period of approximately 5 ½ weeks. During this time, she underwent various tests in order to explain her feeding difficulties. She was discharged home with a portable suction machine, and an Apnoea monitor. Following a short re-admission to hospital, a naso-gastric tube was fitted.

Initial diagnosis  

At four months old there was an incident, when Annabelle briefly stopped breathing following a feed. She did start breathing again following a change of position. She was admitted to hospital and observed for 2 days. Following extensive investigations, Annabelle was diagnosed with having nemaline myopathy. She was also diagnosed as having saggital synostosis. She was admitted to hospital at 10 months of age for cranio-facial repair of scaphocephaly. The operation, and her post-operative course, were uneventful however after 5 days Annabelle had a slight temperature but appeared well, and was playful. During the afternoon, she became unwell and her temperature rose. She was very mucousy and regular suction was being used to clear her mouth. Whilst nurses were removing a line, Linda noticed that the pulse oximeter had become detached. She drew this to the attention of the nursing staff, and was informed that this would be put back on the toe once they had concluded their task.

At midnight Linda received advised that Annabelle had been resuscitated. She had suffered a respiratory and cardiac arrest, as a result of which she suffered significant neurological damage. She became profoundly disabled, and dependent upon her parents for all aspects of daily living.

The negligence

JMW Solicitors alleged that the hospital was negligent in failing to re-attach the pulse oximeter and as a consequence, when Annabelle began to experience breathing difficulties, the staff were not alerted to her respiratory problems, which in turn led to her suffering a cardiac arrest.

The Hospital admitted the allegations of negligence but did not accept that all of Annabelle's disabilities were referable to that damage, referring to her pre-existing diagnosis of nemaline myopathy. Unfortunately, and with great sadness, Annabelle passed away when she was six years old after a respiratory illness. An expert report confirmed that Annabelle had died as a consequence of the brain injury.

Settlement

The case was settled and Linda received £100,000 compensation.

If you would like to find out whether you are entitled to compensation following clinical negligence, speak to our specialist team today. Do so by calling us on 0800 054 6512 or by completing our online enquiry form, allowing us to get back to you. 

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