Bury St Edmunds baby suffers ‘burn’ marks on hospital operating table

8 July 2013

A mother has spoken of her shock after her baby suffered worrying injuries to his legs while undergoing a routine procedure.

One-year-old Jonjo O’Leary returned from theatre with unexplained large red marks on his legs, which looked like burns. He had undergone a procedure at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to correct a minor abnormality and his mother and father Tammie and Fintan O’Leary were shocked at the injuries he sustained while under the care of surgeons. 

The youngster was left with additional pain and at one point Tammie and her husband were told that he could be scarred for life, although they have since been told his legs should hopefully recover. 

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for Addenbrooke’s has written to Tammie to apologise. The trust said it had investigated Jonjo’s injuries but has not identified the cause. It said that the warming mattress that Jonjo was placed on had been taken away for testing and was not found to be faulty. 

Tammie and Fintan, who live with Jonjo in Whepstead, Bury St Edmunds, have asked specialist solicitors at law firm JMW to investigate the care provided to Jonjo as they hope that by highlighting it to the trust it will help to ensure that no other patients suffer the same injuries. 

Tammie, 39, a veterinary business manager, commented: “I was very worried and concerned when I saw Jonjo’s legs and one of the most disappointing issues for me was that I had to point out the injuries he had sustained to hospital staff. The marks were bright red and very large for a baby and they could not have failed to notice them so why did no one say anything to us? 

“It was lucky for us that Jonjo is a happy baby and dealt with everything quite well, another child or vulnerable person might not have done. We are very keen to know what steps have been taken by Addenbrooke’s to ensure this never happens again. Just because the doctors do not know how the burns happened does not mean that it can now just be brushed under the carpet. It’s important that safeguards are put in place to protect other patients.”

Although they described the marks as ‘burns’ in the letter to Tammie, bosses at the trust said it was possible Jonjo had suffered an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the cleaning wipes used on the warming mattress Jonjo was placed on.

However Tammie believes if this turns out to be the case the hospital should take steps to minimise the risk of this happening again. 

Sophie Fox, a specialist solicitor at JMW, is helping Tammie to challenge the care that Jonjo received. Sophie commented: “When a child as young as Jonjo has to undergo any kind of procedure it is a very worrying time for parents but Tammie and her husband have had to deal with the additional anxiety of these unexplained injuries and the fact that Jonjo could have been scarred for life. 

“I would urge Addenbrookes to look again at how these injuries occurred and explore every line of enquiry. It is not acceptable to put it down to just ‘one of those things’, it’s a situation that cannot be allowed to be repeated. The necessary preventative measures need to be put in place to protect other patients.

“Similarly any other patients or families who have suffered such injuries should ensure that they raise this with the hospital and seek specialist legal advice.”

The medical law team at JMW Solicitors can give free advice and guidance to any other patients with concerns about injuries they have suffered in hospital. They can be contacted on 0800 054 6512. 


Pictures show: The burn like marks on Jonjo O’Leary’s legs following the surgery he had at Addenbrooke’s Hospital

Jonjo with mother Tammie at his Christening (please credit Owen Brown Photography)

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

Kelly Livesey

D. 0161 828 1868

E. Kelly.livesey@jmw.co.uk 

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 and has helped thousands of patients challenge the poor care that has led to their long-term injuries. 


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