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Ameera, now 3
Ameera will have lifelong physical and cognitive disabilities after she suffered permanent kernicterus brain damage as a newborn when two hospitals failed to act on blood test results. Ameera’s case was taken on by Eddie Jones, a specialist kernicterus solicitor at JMW, who obtained a full admission of negligence from the hospital. Once the extent of Ameera’s needs are known, Eddie will negotiate a substantial compensation settlement to provide her with the specialist care, housing and equipment she will require, as well as lifelong financial security. Eddie has already been able to obtain interim amounts of compensation to help Ameera and her family to cope in the short-term.
Ameera was in a good condition at birth and to begin with was feeding normally. However the following morning she began to vomit green bile and so was admitted to the hospital’s neonatal unit.
X-rays revealed a blockage in Ameera’s bowel and after discussion with the surgical team at the nearest children’s hospital it was agreed she would be transferred. Before Ameera was transferred the maternity hospital took blood tests, including one to check the amount of bilirubin (the substance that causes yellowing of skin and eyeballs in jaundice) in her blood
The result of the bilirubin blood test showed Ameera had an elevated level which required management and treatment but it was not reviewed before she was transferred, nor communicated to the children’s hospital
Once at the specialist children’s hospital, further scans were done on Ameera’s bowel blockage. At about 11pm that night a doctor noticed that Ameera was slightly jaundiced and ordered blood tests. The results were available at 1.19am, which again showed her bilirubin level was elevated, putting her at risk of brain damage without management and treatment.
Despite the risk posed to Ameera, the bilirubin test result was not even checked until several hours later sometime between 6 and 7.30am and was not properly recorded. It was not until 12.15pm that it was realised that Ameera’s bilirubin level was raised and treatment given by way of single phototherapy.
There was no attempt to check Ameera’s bilirubin levels further until 7.50pm that evening. The results were reported at 9.15pm and showed a dramatic rise in bilirubin. Ameera required a blood transfusion urgently however only further phototherapy was provided.
Initially, the phototherapy brought the level of bilirubin down slightly. However it began to rise again, despite this and the serious risk of damage being caused to Ameera’s brain if it crossed the blood-brain barrier, a blood transfusion was not considered.
Ameera continued to vomit bile due to the blockage and surgery was arranged to treat this. Following the operation her bilirubin level fell but by this time Ameera’s had suffered permanent kernicterus brain damage.
Successful medical negligence case
Ameera’s were left devastated by this diagnosis and understandably worried about her future. They were put in touch with JMW’s Eddie Jones who took on their case against the hospitals, which led to an admission of negligence and an apology and paved the way for compensation to be agreed.
Due to Ameera’s young age, investigations into the total lifelong compensation she will need cannot be undertaken yet. However JMW’s Eddie Jones has secured interim compensation amounts so that she and her family have financial assistance in the meantime.