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Six-Year-Old Boy Brain Damaged By Hospital Drug Error Secures Lifetime Care Package

Medical Law Experts Call For Lessons To Be Learnt From Tragic Case

26.03.2013

By Suzanne Rutter

The parents of a six-year-old boy who was left severely brain damage when staff wrongly administered drugs to induce labour during his birth have spoken of their relief after he was awarded a care package to fund his future care in a London High Court hearing.

Darryl Munashe Kupahurasa, known as Munashe, of Bessecarr in Doncaster, was born on 20 December 2006 with brain damage after staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary incorrectly gave his mother a drip containing an artificial hormone used to induce labour.

The drug caused his mother’s contractions to become too strong, which reduced the amount of oxygen to the baby, causing a catastrophic injury. As a result Munashe will never be able to walk or talk and he suffers from ongoing severe cognitive and learning difficulties.

Following a hearing at the High Court in London, Munashe’s parents Portia, 32, and 36-year-old Devon, have been awarded a multi-million pound settlement to ensure their son has access to the 24-hour care he will need for the rest of his life.

The settlement, secured by specialist medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, will also enable Munashe’s family to adapt their home, to provide transport with wheelchair access and to buy any other specialist equipment he needs to ensure he has the best possible quality of life.

An internal investigation undertaken by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary, found that while it was correct for the drip to have been present at the time of Portia’s labour in case it was needed, the administration of the drug Syntocinon was an error by hospital staff as it was not needed at that time. The trust made a full admission of liability for what happened to Munashe.

Sarah Rowland, an Associate Solicitor in the medical law team at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office who represented the Kupahurasa family in their battle for justice, called for urgent lessons to be learnt across the NHS. She said: “This was an entirely avoidable incident which has had a tragic impact on Munashe and his family.

“This should have been a simple case of administering the correct drugs at the correct time – something absolutely fundamental in medicine. Processes should be in place to prevent incidents like this occurring and it is absolutely essential that lessons are learnt and best practice shared across the NHS to prevent anything like this from happening again.

“Following an approval hearing at the High Court in London Munashe has been awarded a care package that will ensure he has access to the full-time care and support he will need for the rest of his life. The settlement will also allow the family to buy a home which is suitable for Munashe’s needs, provide wheelchair accessible transport and purchase other equipment to ensure that Munashe has the best possible quality of life.

“The family are now very much looking forward to moving on with their lives after what has been a very difficult time for them all.”

Munashe’s mum Portia said the family are now looking forward to moving on with their lives following the settlement.

“We are absolutely devastated by what happened and incredibly angry and frustrated with the fact that this could have been avoided. It’s so important that patients have complete trust in the medical staff treating them when they are in such a vulnerable position and that doctors and nurses know exactly what they are doing.

“Like any parents we hope for our son to have a happy, healthy and successful life, but due to mistakes at the hospital he will never even be able to live independently. It has been incredibly difficult for us all to come to terms with what happened and the fact that the life Munashe could have led has been so cruelly taken away from him.

“The settlement can’t turn back the clock and make up for the mistakes the hospital staff made but it’s a huge relief for us to know that we will have access to the funds to provide Munashe with the best possible carers and equipment he will need for the rest of his life. Despite his severe disabilities he is a chirpy, personable and very much loved little boy so we are finally looking forward to moving on with our lives as a family.”

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