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Baby boy born healthy was left brain damaged 'due to string of basic errors at hospital'

Mirror logo Mirror 13/01/2017 Jennifer Williams
The boy's family blame a 'catalogue of basic failures' at North Manchester General Hospital © Mirror The boy's family blame a 'catalogue of basic failures' at North Manchester General Hospital

A hospital has been accused of leaving a baby boy ‘catastrophically’ brain damaged due to a string of ‘basic errors’.

Ibrahim Mehdi, now aged four, was born healthy but developed symptoms of jaundice in the days that followed his birth.

The condition is usually harmless, but in rare cases can be extremely dangerous if left untreated.

His parents are now suing the trust that runs North Manchester General Hospital, Pennine Acute, claiming a catalogue of basic failures and lack of knowledge led to him requiring round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.

They say two midwives noticed but failed to respond to his symptoms in the days after his birth, the Manchester Evening News reported .

They also claim doctors then misinterpreted Ibrahim's blood tests and staff could not find – or operate – the equipment needed to treat him.

Their solicitors say Pennine has failed repeatedly to respond to their claim, meaning legal proceedings have now begun at the High Court.

Ibrahim, from Bury, was born in June 2012 but had a higher risk of jaundice because his older brother had already suffered from it.

However his family say that three days later a community midwife broke trust guidelines by failing to test him for the condition, despite noticing the symptoms and knowing he was at higher risk.

Lawyers JMW argue that had the test been carried out, the signs would have been apparent and the need for urgent treatment clear.

The next day a second midwife also spotted the symptoms and his deterioration, they say, but still failed to refer him for treatment.

That afternoon his parents Gulshan Batool and Aamir Altaf took him to North Manchester General, where doctors ‘wrongly interpreted his blood test results and failed to realise he required an urgent blood transfusion’, or transfer him for one.

Staff were then unable to find all the phototherapy equipment needed to treat him – and did not know how to use it.

At 4.30am the next day he was transferred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for a transfusion and was later diagnosed with severe kernicterus brain damage.

Ibrahim Mehdi was born healthy but suffered jaundice which can be extremely dangerous if left untreated<br /> © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Ibrahim Mehdi was born healthy but suffered jaundice which can be extremely dangerous if left untreated

Angharad Hughes, a specialist in brain injury cases at JMW Solicitors, who is representing the family, said: “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.”

Pennine Acute has been asked to respond.

The legal proceedings come as Pennine battles to recover its reputation following a string of maternity scandals.

We revealed in November how the department’s new director had uncovered a string of shocking incidents upon her appointment last spring, including a premature baby left to die alone in a sluice room.

The trust had the highest number of legal claims in the country last financial year.

JMW have been acting on behalf of Ibrahim’s family for two years but said the trust had more recently stopped replying to its correspondence.

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