11 year old Elijah is left brain damaged after a hospital ignored the advice of his scientist mother
A tragic story has been reported. An 11 year old boy being left brain damaged after a leading hospital allegedly ignored the advice of his mother, who was a scientist.
Gabrielle Ali says her son’s disabilities – which mean he cannot walk or talk – are the result of a series of blunders by Great Ormond Street.
Gabrielle Ali's son, Elijah, was reportedly born with a heart defect and a cleft palate, and had been admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital for a routine dental procedure.
After the procedure, there were some complications and Great Ormond Street Hospital told Elijah's mother to take him to their local hospital, Watford General. Elijah was admitted to A&E at Watford General, and those treating him took instructions from Great Ormond Street Hospital about his treatment and how best to proceed. The instruction was, according to reports, to give heparin, which is a drug that thins the blood.
Accordingly, in A&E, and following the instruction of Great Ormond Street Hospital, Elijah was given heparin. Before giving him this drug, his mother had apparently said that she did not think it was right to give him this drug when his red blood cell level was so low. She thought he should have had a blood transfusion before being given the drug. She was afraid that the blood would thin too much and put his vital organs at risk. She was a scientist and knew what she was talking about. She tried to convince the doctors at Watford General not to follow the advice of Great Ormond Street, but to no avail. She was even apparently threatened with legal action if she tried to remove her son from the hospital. They proceeded to give him heparin.
Tragically, within seconds of the heparin drug being infused into Elijah's vein, he went into cardiac arrest. It is believed by his mother that this was caused by giving him heparin when they should not have done so. It took 45 minutes to resuscitate Elijah and to get his heart working again, during which time Elijah was starved of oxygen. As a result, he has severe brain damage, and is not able to walk or talk. He needs constant care and looking after.
This is sad, sad case. It raises many issues, which hopefully will be considered as part of the investigation, including whether the advice given by Great Ormond Street was negligent, the extent to which Watford General should have relied on the advice and whether they should have enquired further in light of the concerns raised by his mother. Experts specialising in the various areas of medicine will need to comment.
If it turns out that treatment was negligent, Elijah's mother will not only have to deal with the loss of her healthy child but also with the utter sadness and frustration that no-one listened to her. My heart goes out to her.
Unfortunately, we can't turn back the clock. We can't undo what has been done. But, if there is a claim for medical negligence, it will result in a compensation payment that should enable Elijah to get the care, help, and support that he will need for the rest of his life.
Compensation payments for children with brain injury can seem very high, often millions of pounds. This is because the child will need many, many things that they would not have needed if the brain injury had not happened. As reported in relation to Elijah, they often need carers around the clock. They need extensive equipment, such as wheelchairs, hoists, standing frames and sometimes computer equipment to help them communicate. They need to live in houses which can accommodate their needs, such as including ramps. They need help feeding, dressing, bathing, moving, medicating, and can't be left alone. They are unable to do most daily activities for themselves, and this will continue often for the rest of their lives.
Edwina Rawson, solicitor in medical negligence says:
"Compensation can never, ever, compensate a mother for the loss of her healthy boy or the boy's loss of his healthy life, but it can assist hugely with the practicalities of the new life as a disabled child."
Fieldfisher Partner Edwina Rawson, was the solicitor in the high-profile case of Maisha Najeeb who brought a case against Great Ormond Street Hospital in relation to the wrongful injection of glue into her brain, which caused catastrophic brain damage. It was reported that Edwina achieved the highest ever compensation payment in a case against the NHS. You can learn more about Maisha's case via the following links:
- Daily Mail
- The Guardian
- The Independent
- ITV News - Youtube
- BBC News - Youtube
Image Credit - www.telegraph.co.uk