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Case Study

Salmonella undetected at Pembury Hospital resulting in brain damaged baby

MC was born at Pembury Hospital in Kent in seemingly good condition. But, shortly before or just after birth, MC contracted a bacterial infection, Salmonella Enteritidis, from his mother. This was not known at the time of his birth.

MC's mother, during her antenatal period was under the care of Pembury Hospital where she attended the hospital on several occasions complaining of low abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. Blood and urine samples, urine as well as high vaginal swabs were taken during these attendances. No stool samples or rectal swabs were obtained for testing. The blood and urine samples were all reported as normal that is showing no significant bacterial growth. On each occasion MC's mother was discharged home with no further investigation.

It was the Claimant's case that the Trust failed to take a stool sample or rectal swab given his mother's ongoing complaint of vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. If a stool sample or rectal swab had been taken it is likely that the salmonella infection would have been detected antenatally and before MC's mother went into labour.

If the infection had been diagnosed when MC was born, the paediatricians would have given MC intravenous broad spectrum antibiotics for a few days and he would have been monitored closely for at least 24 hours after birth for signs of infection. Had he been cared for responsibly, it is unlikely that Salmonella enteritidis septicaemia would have developed or that Salmonella enteritidis would have crossed the blood/brain barrier. 

In the event of there having been no salmonella detected in the mother, MC was discharged from hospital on the same day he was born.

As a result of the untreated infection, MC suffered extremely serious hydrocephalus and haemorrhaging injury to his brain. MC went on to develop septicaemia and meningitis. The infection caused extensive destructive pus-filled abscesses in MC's brain and he began to suffer from seizures aged four days, and had to be readmitted to Pembury Hospital.

MC underwent various attempts to drain the pus accumulated within his brain and eventually required a ventriculo-percutaneous (VP) shunt to be inserted in his brain.

MC has sadly been left with cognitive sequelae, right sided hemiplegia with severe compromise of his right upper and lower limbs.

Paul McNeil was instructed in the matter and he served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant following consultation with various experts. The Defendant admitted liability in full in their Letter of Response and judgment was entered.

Contact us

For further information about septicaemia claims and brain injury following medical negligence, please call Paul McNeil on 020 7861 4019 or email paul.mcneil@fieldfisher.com.

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