Portfolio of neglect to blame for baby girl’s death

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A series of medical failures led to the death of a two month old girl – leaving her parents asking why fatal errors were made by so many people who could have saved her.

Baby Z was her parent’s much wanted first daughter and the sister of three older brothers, but only for a few short months. Although the family has now received compensation from the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, they would return it all with interest if it would bring her back.

Medical Negligence

On 25 September 2009 Baby Z’s health visitor noticed that she was jaundiced and she was taken to the Children's Assessment Unit at the QMC. Doctors took a series of blood samples and sent the family home with the message that they would receive word if anything was wrong. But although the samples were analysed and the results threw up irregularities, no phone calls were made.

For the next three weeks Baby Z’s condition deteriorated; she began vomiting and lost weight. But still the parents received no word from the Children's Assessment Unit. Finally, on the morning of 15 October the little girl stopped breathing for a moment. Her parents rushed her to hospital where she was admitted immediately but to the wrong ward. Despite concerns raised by a nurse this mistake caused a seven hour delay in taking fresh blood samples and administering life-saving treatment to the little girl. In addition, a mix-up in scheduling meant staff were unable to contact the doctor who was on call. All Baby Z received was a passing glance by another doctor who, again, did nothing.

Finally it became clear that the little girl needed an urgent blood transfusion which was ordered from the Regional Centre in Sheffield although supplies were already available at the hospital in Nottingham. During the transfusion Baby Z suffered a negative reaction and, in a kneejerk response, the doctor administered an excessive dose of Thiopentone – suppressing the little girl’s cardiac functions. She died shortly afterwards.

"Had the initial blood tests been acted on, this little girl would be alive today," said the family’s solicitor, at Simpson Millar LLP. "Her death was wholly avoidable. It was not to blame on a single error but a comprehensive portfolio of failures and neglect. Although we have now settled the claim on behalf of the family their loss will remain forever. We can only hope that the Trust has learnt from all the mistakes that were made."


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