A ‘devastating error’ at a New South Wales hospital has led to the death of one newborn, and left another suffering brain damage and in a critical condition. One of the grieving mothers has told of her horror, waking from an emergency caesarian earlier this month to be told her son had died. Yet, the full extent of what happened has only just been revealed to the anguished family.
On July 13, 2016, Bankstown mum Sonya Ghanem gave birth to baby John while under general anesthetic at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, and woke to the shocking news that her baby had died.
“I held my baby, they brought him to me at the hospital, I said I want to see him,” Ms Ghanem told Channel Nine. “Just looking at him, shaking, my son, ‘wake up’, I would tell him.”
“Coming out of the hospital, holding a capsule. I had nothing in my hand. Came out empty-handed, thinking I’ll hold my newborn…but, no.”
It wasn’t until just a few days ago that she was told why her fourth child had died – he’d been given nitrous gas instead of oxygen. And he wasn’t the only one – another baby born last month remains in a critical condition, after also being given the gas.
NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner says she’s ‘profoundly sorry’ for the error. She says every operating theatre and medical gas outlet installed in NSW Health facilities over the past five years will be checked, and has reassure expectant women.
“Mothers can feel confident that we have checked every operating theatre, every [resuscitation] bay where babies are treated and there are no other examples of this,” Ms Skinner said.
The Minister has revealed that investigations are underway, with both the hospital, and gas company BOC responsible for checking the gas line that supplied the nitrous oxide to the babies.
In a statement, BOC said it’s “extremely saddened of the tragic death of a newborn and the injury of another at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital” and has been cooperating with investigations, as well as conducting an internal inquiry.
(Image of Ms Ghanem courtesy Channel Nine)