Birmingham hospital mistakes led to brain damage for baby15th October 2008
A High Court judge found a Birmingham hospital made mistakes in its neonatal care which led to a premature baby suffering brain damage.
Sir Christopher Holland, called out of retirement to hear the case, found staff at City Hospital failed to ensure a doctor was called to see Ayesha Kishver – born at 25 weeks on July 15, 1997 in an emergency Caesarean section.
The baby, who weighed just 1lb 13oz, was making good progress in her first eight days, but in the early hours of July 23, 1997 two sisters on the neonatal ward failed to recognise signs her condition was deteriorating and did not notify a doctor, assuming a junior medic would be “around by 5.30 to 6am”.
Ayesha was born with an enlarged heart, signs of renal problems and had become jaundiced, and so was placed under a blue phototherapy light.
But as nurses failed to spot or recognise the signs – a drop in heart rate from 161 to 111bpm and falling respiratory rate between 5am and 6am – her skin became blueish-grey, a sign oxygen was not getting into her system. When a doctor returned to check on Ayesha’s progress at 8am, she had become pale and was in a very poor condition, considered almost terminal, but medics managed to resuscitate her.
As a result Ayesha, who is 11 and lives in Stivichall, Coventry with her mother Shahana Kishver, suffered severe brain damage and is unable to dress herself, play independently and is struggling to participate in classes at her mainstream school
Judge Sir Holland’s ruling follows a five-day trial in July to establish liability, in which Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust – which runs City Hospital – was ordered to pay damages, expected to run into seven figures, following a settlement next year.
Ms Kishver had been due to go to Warwick Hospital but she was given the choice of transferring to City Hospital or Leicester when she went into early labour.
“I figured Birmingham was that bit closer to home, which is why I opted to go there, and Ayesha was in relatively good health when she was born. She was doing well at first,” said the company director. “I went home for the first time on July 22 but when I called the unit the next morning I could sense something was wrong. When I got back to the hospital I couldn’t recognise her, she was grey and seemed to have no life, just a helpless little bundle. It was then the consultant told me Ayesha had become very ill, and I was shocked this massive change in her condition happened overnight. It soon became clear doctors thought she was going to die.”
Ayesha was finally allowed to go home in October 1997, ironically when Ms Kishver was due to give birth. Sara Burns, medical negligence specialist with Birmingham-based law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Ayesha suffered significant disabilities as a result of a failure by doctors to intervene when her condition started to deteriorate. However, throughout this eight-year legal battle the trust was always adamant their staff were blameless and Ayesha’s condition was due to the fact she was born prematurely.
“It is testimony to Ayesha’s mother she refused to accept their version of events and has been determined to get the truth.”
Ms Kishver added: “All I ever wanted was answers but for 11 years I was led to believe her condition was just one of those things which can happen with premature babies.
“I’ve never had an apology. I am relieved this chapter is almost over but would like the trust, particularly the nurses, to apologise.”
Last night, a trust spokesman said: “Although the Judge rejected the majority of the allegations made, he concluded there was a delay in responding to worsening symptoms on the morning of July 23. He also found although it was not possible to say the delay caused Ayesha’s injury, it made a contribution.”
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Title: Birmingham hospital mistakes led to brain damage for baby
Author: Anne Waller
Article Id: 8771
Date Added: 15th Oct 2008