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Boy with avoidable kernicterus brain damage to receive lifetime of specialist care
Haseeb suffered catastrophic kernicterus brain damage after a hospital doctor and community midwives who visited him at home after his birth failed to arrange blood tests and treatment when he was found to be jaundiced. Jaundice is common in babies and generally harmless. However, it can become dangerous if it becomes severe so early testing and management is required. A case for medical negligence was brought on behalf of Haseeb by Eddie Jones, a leading kernicterus solicitor at JMW, and he will now be awarded a significant compensation settlement to cover the cost of his lifelong disabilities.
Haseeb was his parents’ second child, their first child having also been jaundiced after his birth but making a good recovery without any permanent injury. Haseeb was born in a good condition and there were no concerns about him at this stage.
The following day his mother Meena, who was exclusively breastfeeding Haseeb, noticed that he was jaundiced. She mentioned this to the doctor who carried out Haseeb’s postnatal check but the doctor did not arrange a blood test to check how high the level of bilirubin was. Bilirubin is the substance that causes yellowing of the skin and can cause brain damage if it increases to too high a level. Early that evening Haseeb and Meena were discharged home.
Overnight Meena was very worried about Haseeb as he remained yellow in colour and also had a high-pitched cry. As soon as possible the next morning, she called the birth centre to explain her concerns and request a home visit so that Haseeb could be checked. However Meena was told that this would not be possible due to staff shortages that day.
Over the course of the next 24 hours, Haseeb’s jaundice became more severe. The following morning Meena again called the birth centre and requested a visit from a midwife.
Just before lunchtime a midwife arrived at the house who agreed that Haseeb was extremely jaundiced and told Meena to take him to the birth centre for a blood test.
This was incorrect advice as in fact Haseeb needed to go straight to hospital for urgent treatment. Three hours after arriving at the birth centre for a blood test Haseeb was admitted to hospital where he was given phototherapy and a blood transfusion to try and bring down his extremely high level of bilirubin.
However, by now it was too late to successfully treat him and later that night he was found to have suffered kernicterus brain damage.
Eddie Jones, Meena's solicitor commented:
There was a clear lack of awareness by hospital staff and midwives of the dangers of newborn jaundice. A prompt blood test and urgent treatment would have prevented Haseeb’s brain damage but despite Meena raising the alarm this was not done. I am pleased to have been able to secure Haseeb’s future but no amount of money can fully compensate a child for having the chance of an independent life taken from them.
Successful kernicterus case
Meena was completely devastated by Haseeb’s severe injury and the fact that she has raised the alarm about his jaundice and condition previously yet no action had been taken. She was put in touch with leading kernicterus solicitor Eddie Jones, who investigated the care provided and found it was negligent for the hospital trust responsible for the birth unit not to ensure Haseeb was seen by a midwife the day after his birth when there were concerns about him being unwell.
It was also negligent of the midwife who did attend the following day not to refer him urgently to hospital and for the doctor who examined him prior to his discharge not acknowledge he was jaundiced and carry out a blood test.
Eddie gathered evidence from leading medical experts and was able to reach agreement with the hospital trust that Haseeb should be compensated for the failures.
Interim payments of compensation were obtained by Eddie for Haseeb to enable his family to access specialist care for him while the case awaits final settlement.
Final settlement is likely to be for several million pounds to enable Haseeb to have a lifetime of specialist care, equipment, therapy, accommodation and financial security given he will have permanent disabilities.
Get in touch
JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading lawyer, Eddie Jones.