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Baby boy suffered catastrophic brain damage after alleged failures at Pennine Acute
A family has started legal proceedings against the troubled Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust after a baby boy suffered catastrophic brain damage following a catalogue of failures by community midwives and hospital staff.
Ibrahim Mehdi, now four, of Bury, Greater Manchester, cannot walk, talk or feed himself and has severe learning and developmental difficulties. He developed jaundice as a newborn, which is generally harmless but in rare cases, and if left untreated, can become very serious and lead to a type of brain damage called kernicterus. Jaundice is completely treatable with phototherapy or a blood transfusion but the baby must be promptly tested and treatment begun urgently if required.
Despite the severity of Ibrahim’s injuries Pennine Acute has failed to respond to the allegations put to it by the family via their solicitors at law firm JMW forcing them to issue legal proceedings in the High Court in London this week to try to find answers.
Angharad Hughes, a specialist in brain injury cases at JMW Solicitors, who is representing Ibrahim and his parents Gulshan Batool and Aamir Altaf, commented: “This is an extremely distressing case as Ibrahim was born perfectly healthy but just a few days later had suffered severe and entirely avoidable brain damage and will require round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.
“We have gathered evidence from leading independent medical experts who believe his injury was completely preventable had community midwives ensured he was tested promptly and referred to hospital, and had hospital staff started treatment urgently.
“Unfortunately there was a catalogue of basic and extremely concerning errors which included a lack of knowledge about jaundice, lack of equipment and staff not being able to operate basic phototherapy equipment. The delays by Pennine in responding to our allegations and requests for information have also been very upsetting for the family.”
Ibrahim was born at North Manchester Hospital on 23 June 2012 in a good condition. He was born slightly prematurely and his older brother had been treated for jaundice as a newborn which also increased Ibrahim’s risk of developing jaundice. These factors were known by the community midwives who attended to him at home on 26th and 27th June.
Yet, contrary to Pennine’s own guidelines, despite noticing the jaundice, a midwife failed to promptly test him when the jaundice was first apparent on the 26th. If this had been done it would have revealed that Ibrahim’s levels of bilirubin, the substance that causes the yellowing of the skin and eyeballs, were extremely high and there was a significant risk of brain damage without urgent treatment.
A different midwife then failed to refer him to hospital as an emergency on the 27th either when she identified his jaundice and deteriorating condition at the time of her morning visit, or when a test was eventually done on that day and revealed just how severe his condition was and how urgently he required treatment.
Ibrahim’s parents Gulshan and Aamir took Ibrahim to North Manchester General at 3.21pm on the 27th where he was seen by doctors who wrongly interpreted his blood test results and failed to realise he required an urgent blood transfusion. They then failed to arrange a transfer to a hospital where this could be carried out, whilst treatment with phototherapy was also delayed as staff were unable to locate all the equipment and use it correctly.
JMW alleges that these unacceptable delays in testing Ibrahim and beginning urgent treatment caused his brain damage. Appropriate phototherapy was not established until 8.30pm and Ibrahim was then transferred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital at 4.30am on 28th June for a blood transfusion and he was later diagnosed with severe kernicterus brain damage.
Ibrahim was also later diagnosed with a rare condition affecting his liver, which can cause severe jaundice. This was not known to his family or doctors at the time of his injury and no negligence is alleged in relation to this. The treatment for Ibrahim’s jaundice should still have been the same and should have followed NHS guidelines as for any other jaundiced baby - however this was not done.
Ibrahim’s family has requested that JMW handle all requests for further information and interviews on their behalf and they do not wish to make personal comment.
For more information please contact:
0161 828 1868
0161 828 198107595 277 842
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 clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones.