2 January 2015


Baby boy sustains catastrophic brain damage after midwife failures  

The parents of a baby boy who suffered devastating and preventable brain damage after a catalogue of errors by midwives have called on the hospital responsible to ensure lessons are learned from his case.

Baby Khan Gold, of Honiton, Devon, was born perfectly healthy but five days later was dangerously ill after midwives who had been checking on him at home failed to take appropriate action on his newborn jaundice. Khan was later rushed to hospital and treatment started but it was too late to prevent him from sustaining a type of catastrophic brain damage called kernicterus. 

Fearing something had gone badly wrong with Khan’s care his devastated parents contacted the medical negligence team at law firm JMW for advice. After their case was taken on by Eddie Jones, a specialist solicitor at JMW, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for the midwives, admitted negligence and apologised to Khan’s family. 

Mr Jones commented: “The midwives who attended to Khan at home made critical errors over the course of five days following his birth and these will affect him for the rest of his life. Crucially they failed to follow NHS guidelines on the treatment of newborn jaundice and not one of them carried out a vital blood test or referred him to hospital for urgent treatment. This allowed his condition to escalate to the point that he sustained brain damage, which was completely preventable with medical care. 

“Jaundice is very common in babies but when it occurs in the first 24 hours of life, as it did in Khan’s case, it can be extremely serious. The lack of appreciation of the danger Khan was in by the midwives would suggest that there are training issues at hospital trust that need to be addressed urgently. As well as additional training, we believe the failure to test newborn babies with jaundice should be added to the NHS never events list as it is an error that can be prevented with simple steps yet can have extremely serious consequences. 

“Khan is still just 18-months-old but he is likely to be severely disabled for the rest of his life. Now that the hospital has admitted these serious failings I can begin work on securing him a compensation settlement that will provide him with the specialist care and accommodation he will need.” 

Khan’s father and mother Ed and Laura-Fae Gold, who have four other children, said they want to ensure other babies in the same situation receive appropriate care.

Ed, 41, an electrician, commented: “Khan’s injuries have had a severe impact on the whole family and it’s devastating to know that these could have been avoided with better care. As parents we just worry what the future will hold for Khan and how he is going to be able to cope. Thankfully with Eddie’s help the hospital admitted its failings meaning a care package can be put in place for Khan. 

“However we would give anything for Khan to be a healthy little boy and now nothing can turn back the clock. We just want to warn other parents about the risks of newborn jaundice and ensure that the hospital makes whatever changes are necessary to prevent this from happening to any other child.” 

Khan was born perfectly healthy on 15 April 2013 and went home with his mother the following day. Later that day, and over the course of the next four days, he was seen by three community midwives, who all noted that he was jaundiced. However they all failed to ensure his levels of bilirubin –the substance that causes yellowing of the skin and eyeballs and can cause brain damage if left untreated – were tested. This allowed Khan’s soaring bilirubin levels to go unchecked and meant that he was not referred to hospital for urgent treatment. 

On the evening of 20th of April Khan was eventually admitted after his condition deteriorated and his concerned parents called one of the midwives at 9.55pm who advised them to take him straight to hospital. Khan was admitted to intensive care and given an urgent blood transfusion however it was now too late to prevent him from suffering permanent brain damage. 




For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Hindle on the details below:

Kelly Hindle

D. 0161 828 1868


Note to Editors

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. 

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