Mother Speaks Of Son’s Hospital Experience With Contaminated Nutrition

Lawyers Emphasise Highest Expectation Of Safety


Lawyers acting for a mother whose son suffered a heart attack after consuming contaminated hospital feed just days after being born have warned that the need for a review of regulations in the area has become even more vital after Public Health England confirmed reports of similar problems in recent weeks.

Frances Blacklock has revealed how she and her partner faced the trauma of having to be cleared of wrongdoing during the investigation into what led her son, Mason, to suffer a cardiac arrest at University College London Hospital in February 2012, following emergency surgery to correct a birth defect.

The inquiry by the hospital, Metropolitan Police and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which at one point considered if the child had been poisoned, subsequently concluded that the incident was caused by excessive magnesium found in the IV hospital feed given to the baby.

While Mason has bravely battled back from the ordeal, Frances has instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who specialise in helping victims injured as a result of defective medical products to help her obtain redress for Mason from the feed manufacturer Quest Healthcare.

The Irwin Mitchell lawyers are also calling on the MHRA and other regulatory health authorities to urgently examine current regulations in relation to hospital feed, after contamination of feed produced by IHT Pharma was linked to the death of one child and illness of 17 others earlier this month.

A mother of two, Frances Blacklock, from Barnet, discovered on her 12-week scan for Mason that he was suffering from gastroschisis – a condition which means the abdominal wall does not develop correctly and intestines or the bowel form outside of the body.

Following a difficult labour, Mason was born by caesarean section on February 7th and was quickly transferred from UCLH to Great Ormond Street, where he received successful surgery to reposition his bowel and correct the defect.

Things were looking up and he was transferred back to UCLH several days later where he began to breathe on his own. However, Frances was stunned when she was told on the phone one morning that his condition had worsened

Frances recalls: “I was told to come to the hospital as soon as possible, as Mason was back on an incubator. When I got there, he was also on a ventilator and looked grey. It was horrific but no one could tell what had happened.”

Her worries worsened when she was informed that Mason had suffered a cardiac arrest and was also told that the police would be investigating, with concerns raised that the baby could have been poisoned.

 After a year-long investigation, it was concluded that the hospital feed Mason was given contained excess magnesium and this had caused his illness.

Frances said: “The investigation was awful, even my partner and I had to be eliminated from suspicion. To be involved in something like that was just heartbreaking, especially when all we cared about was Mason getting better.

“Mason is now two and a half and, while he needs regular appointments at UCLH to check his progress, he is on his way to what we hope will be a full recovery.

“However, we want to know how these problems happened and what is being done to prevent them from happening again. The recent problems outlined by Public Health England brought all of the bad memories back from our experiences. No one else should have to face what we have been through and lessons must be learned.”