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Baby boy left brain damaged after jaundice overlooked by midwife
High court proceedings have been issued alleging that Jaudaan Bapu who is now 5 years old, was left severely physically handicapped as a result of a midwife’s negligence.
When Jaudaan Bapu, from Preston was two days old his skin became yellow. Jaudaan’s mother Halima Gajra mentioned this to the Community Midwife. She was reassured that jaundice was common in babies of Asian descent and advised to put him in the sunlight. The midwife offered the parents no further advice.
By the time the Community midwife returned, the following afternoon, his skin was extremely yellow. She took a blood sample which showed that his liver was not working properly and the family rushed him to hospital.
Jaudaan began to show signs of kernicterus, a severe form of jaundice affecting the brain, which had developed due to the delay in receiving treatment. Despite efforts to treat the condition it was too late to reverse the effects of the illness.
Jaudaan has athetoid cerebral palsy. He is dependant on his parents for all his basic needs including dressing, going to the toilet and with feeding. Jaudaan’s hearing has also been affected and despite an operation he now wears a hearing aid.
Jaundice is characterised by a change in skin colour and occurs as a result of the liver being underdeveloped and unable to function fully. While jaundice is common in the newborn baby and often harmless, Jaudaan’s jaundice developed within the first few days of his life and as such it should have been treated as a medical emergency.
Jaudaan’s father Zuber Bapu said today, ‘Jaudaan’s condition has a huge impact on his life, and ours. He needs a wheelchair because he is extremely unsteady on his feet and falls when he tries to stand on his own. He is an energetic child and will try and walk, but this situation will be permanent for him. He has poor coordination in his arms which means that he has difficulty playing with his toys and getting dressed. Jaudaan also needed an operation to help his hearing before he was two. Despite these problems, he has made lots of friends at his local primary school. Jaudaan's injuries were completely preventable and we want to warn new parents about the dangers of jaundice.'’
Melissa Gardner, Associate in the Clinical Negligence Team at JMW Solicitors, Manchester is the family’s solicitor. She added, ‘I hope this case will highlight the issue of neo-natal jaundice to healthcare professionals and the wider public. Jaudaan’s condition was very serious and the evidence in this case clearly demonstrates that Jaudaan should have received treatment sooner than he did. Hopefully this case will remind midwives to take jaundice seriously as its effects can be devastating.’
Notes for editors:
1. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidelines on the issue of neonatal jaundice in May 2010. The key recommendation from NICE is that all babies should be examined for jaundice at every opportunity especially in the first 72 hours of life and those most at risk should be identified early. Babies with suspected or obvious jaundice should then have a blood test to test their bilirubin level and tests to continue to monitor this until it has returned to a safe level.
2. 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. For more than a decade he and his team have advised and represented victims of clinical negligence, and their relatives, and have obtained over £50 million in compensation for their clients, as well as providing the answers as to why their medical treatment has gone wrong.
3. For interviews and questions please contact:
Roisin Metherell, Nurse Paralegal, JMW Solicitors LLP
Direct Line: 0161 828 1868