29 March 2022

Hospital admits negligent treatment of jaundice caused Bromley boy’s catastrophic brain damage

A family has spoken of the precious milestones their child has been robbed of due to the catastrophic brain damage and hearing loss he suffered as a baby, which a hospital has now admitted was due to its negligence.

Grandmother Viv Randall says five-year-old Vinnie-Ray Jeffery, of Bromley, Kent, is a ‘happy soul’ who is adored by his seven young cousins and three-year-old brother Jenson.  However, the youngster will never walk or talk and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life, after a series of blunders by midwives in the days following his birth at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Kent in September 2016.

If a community midwife who attended him at home on the day after he was born had arranged a simple blood test, then his brain damage, a type known as kernicterus, would have been prevented.

However she, and other midwives who visited him on a total of three occasions in the first 10 days, failed to follow the hospital’s own guidelines that state any baby who appears jaundiced within 24-hours of life should be urgently tested and referred to hospital to prevent kernicterus. There was also a failure to heed two warnings in his notes that there was a need to be vigilant for jaundice due to a blood condition his mother Kerry Randall has. They instead gave Kerry, who at the time was a first-time mother aged 20, archaic advice to expose him to sunlight to help clear the jaundice, action that would do nothing to avert the danger Vinnie Ray was in.

Due to the lack of treatment with phototherapy, Vinnie’s brain was exposed to high levels of bilirubin, the substance that causes yellowing of the skin and eye.

Viv and Kerry have been fighting for justice for Vinnie since he was a few months old with the help of specialist brain injury solicitors at law firm JMW. However, it is only now that the trust has accepted it was its negligence that has devastated his life and said it is willing to apologise and pay compensation for the lifelong specialist care he needs.

Viv said: “We were all so excited when Kerry found out she was pregnant with Vinnie. Kerry and Vinnie-Ray’s dad Reece anticipated him being a footballer because he used to kick so much. Meanwhile I had visions of him running towards me shouting ‘nanny!’ But we’ll never see any of those milestones because they’ve been taken away from him. He loves lights and music, but we will never know what goes through his mind.

“I manage a children’s nursery which Vinnie attended. The other children all loved him, and he helped to teach them about being inclusive. However, it’s a tragedy that Vinnie won’t have his own independent life one day as the other children will.

“The fact that there are guidelines written in black and white to prevent Vinnie’s situation from happening, but that these are not followed, is staggering. With consequences that can be so severe, why would the trust not do everything possible to ensure midwives take the right steps? It was even written in Vinnie’s discharge notes that there was a need to be vigilant, but these were ignored. We just don’t want any other families to suffer as ours have. Vinnie is adored by all his family and doesn’t want for anything, but he’s been robbed of the future he should have had and we’ve been robbed of it too.”

It was when Vinnie began making abnormal jerky movements when he was about six weeks old that he was referred to paediatricians. He was admitted to the Evelina Hospital on 1 February for five days of investigations, including an MRI brain scan. The scan revealed areas of damage and Vinnie-Ray was diagnosed with kernicterus.

Steven Brown, a partner specialising in kernicterus cases at law firm JMW, who is representing Vinnie-Ray commented: “The failure to follow the treatment guidelines in the first day of Vinnie’s life has had a profound effect on him and those of his whole family. While I am pleased that Vinnie and his family have succeed in their battle to have the hospital accept responsibility for his injuries, nothing can turn back the clock.

“Kerry and Viv are unwavering in their dedication to provide the very best life for Vinnie and obtain justice and have conducted themselves with great dignity throughout. We can only hope that the trust has learned lessons from Vinnie’s case and it ensures that similar appalling errors are never repeated by its staff.”

Ends

Hospital admission letter available on request.

Kelly Hindle

M: 07921 388 584

E. Kelly.hindle@jmw.co.uk

Samantha Meakin

Samantha.meakin@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 clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones.

http://www.jmw.co.uk/services-for-you/clinical-negligence/

 

 

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