You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Horrified mum says 'my baby could have died on operating table' after last minute discovery stops surgery

Mirror logo Mirror 1/04/2017 Kelly Williams
Credits: Daily Post Wales © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Daily Post Wales

A mother claims her baby was about to go under the knife when an anaesthetist noticed a pre-existing condition which could have killed her.

Little Millie Blackall had undergone sleep studies after suffering regular bouts of tonsillitis and obstructive sleep apnoea - a condition which stopped her breathing during the night.

These revealed that while the then 22-month-old youngster from Rhyl, Wales, was asleep, her oxygen levels plummeted to dangerously low levels.

It prompted doctors at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan, Wales, to decide that she needed an operation to remove her adenoids and tonsils, which had grown too large for her throat.

According to Millie’s mum, Samantha, the surgeon who was due to carry out the procedure in March last year was unaware of Millie’s sleep apnoea until she was lying on the operating table.

She said it was only when the anaesthetist checked Millie’s notes the issue came to light.

Daily Post Wales

Samantha said: “When Millie was 12 months old she was always getting tonsillitis, and she would stop breathing for short periods of time while she was asleep and then suddenly regain her breath.

“It was a horrible time. I was too scared to sleep myself because I was constantly checking on her.

Credits: Daily Post Wales © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Daily Post Wales “Millie was referred to the ear nose and throat department at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd (hospital) and given a spray to use until they carried out sleep studies and noted that her oxygen levels were dropping below 90.

“The results of the sleep studies should’ve been looked at before surgery was given the go-ahead, but unbeknown to me, they weren’t.”

She added: “On March 21, 2016, Mille was given paracetamol and Ibuprofen and taken down to theatre.

“Shortly afterwards, she was brought back and I was told they hadn’t realised she had obstructive sleep apnoea, and because of that it would’ve been too dangerous to go ahead as planned.

“I was told it could’ve caused serious harm, possibly even death, had the surgery been done.”

Samantha said the surgeon apologised in writing and it was suggested that given Millie’s condition, she should have been referred to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool for the operation.

In the letter, the surgeon wrote: “I would like again to take this opportunity to apologise for the process undertaken so far to get to this stage of referral.

Credits: Daily Post Wales © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Daily Post Wales “I think she should have been referred earlier and I have reviewed this case with the doctor who you saw in November and also the pre-operative assessment clinic to ensure that lessons are learnt.”

The alleged blunder meant the toddler had to wait a further seven months before the operation could be done at the specialist children’s hospital in Liverpool. It was finally carried out in October last year.

The mum-of-three has now written a letter of complaint to Glan Clwyd Hospital which they say they have yet to receive.

She said: “I’m at a loss as to why this was not identified sooner and why this only came to light at the time of the operation. The surgeon wrote to me to apologise but I don’t consider this is good enough.”

Samantha said Millie, now aged two, is “much better” but may have to have further surgery in future as she has a constantly runny nose.

“I’m glad that any future treatment will be carried out at Alder Hey,” she added.

A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “We have yet to receive a formal complaint from the family and would encourage them to contact our concerns team who can investigate these concerns in line with the formal concerns process.”

More from The Mirror

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon