Trust Admits Liability After Lawyers Challenge Internal Report Which Ruled Hospital Was Not To Blame For One-Year-Old’s Death
A grieving father has criticised an NHS Trust which ruled that hospital staff were not to blame for his son’s death, until he instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who exposed a series of fatal failings.
Taufiqul Karim Suhrid, 44, from Ilford, lost his son Tahmeed, aged just 20 months and 28 days, on December 10, 2013 following failures by staff at Royal London Hospital to diagnose an obstruction to his bowel.
Taufiqul instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate Tahmeed’s care under Royal London Hospital after becoming concerned that a letter from Bart’s Health NHS Trust said that the toddler’s death was not as a result of substandard treatment.
The paediatric consultants working with the family’s legal team identified a series of failings, including not realising a feeding tube incorrectly fitted; something which led to Tahmeed suffering 10 months of pain, vomiting and diarrhoea before his eventual death.
Irwin Mitchell set out the catalogue of errors in a letter to the Trust dated April 26 this year. Within weeks the Trust admitted “that the treatment of Tahmeed in this instance, fell below the standards to be expected which contributed materially to the death” and agreed to settle the case with the family out-of-court for a five-figure sum.
Taufiqul said: “There is no settlement in the world that can make up for losing a child. All we have ever wanted was the truth about what happened to Tahmeed, but we have been fobbed off at every turn.
“NHS Trusts need to be open, transparent and accountable. Without honesty and accountability lessons cannot be learned and other children could lose their lives as Tahmeed did.
“Our victory is bittersweet. While we now know what happened and can hopefully now change the outcomes for other children, nothing can change what has happened to Tahmeed. Nothing can bring him back.
“I now just hope that the Trust can learn from this experience and implement the changes to ensure that no other family suffers as we have.”
Expert Opinion“Much of Tahmeed’s short life was spent in hospital, needlessly in pain and distress. He was so small and vulnerable but was let down by those whose job it was to help him.
“Tahmeed’s family have had to endure three agonising years of denials from Bart’s Health NHS Trust. It was only when the family instructed Irwin Mitchell that the Trust finally admitted the failings which led to Tahmeed’s death, something which has only added to the family’s already unbearable grief.
“NHS Trusts have a duty to be open and transparent about their mistakes so that they and other Trusts can learn from them and prevent future loss of life. That the family had to launch a legal battle simply to know the truth shows that there is much to be learned from Tahmeed’s death.” Lauren Hurney - Partner
Tahmeed was born prematurely on March 12, 2012 weighing just 3.3lbs and suffering from respiratory distress syndrome and abdominal distension - caused when substances, such as gas or fluid, accumulate in the abdomen causing it to expand beyond its normal size.
On January 11 the following year, Tahmeed was fitted with a feeding tube that passes through the skin of the abdomen and into the stomach which allows liquid food, fluids, and medication to be fed directly into the stomach. But a flange – a part of the feeding tube designed to keep the internal section in place – caused an obstruction in Tahmeed’s bowel.
For 10 months Tahmeed was frequently sick and suffered constant diarrhoea – at one point vomiting faecal matter.
The obstruction went unnoticed until just two days before his death when surgeons removed the feeding tube and repaired two holes to the small intestine. But Tahmeed was in pain and distress following the surgery and struggled to breathe.
The following day doctors noted that his surgical wound was oozing green-brown fluid and a decision was made to give Tahmeed an emergency laparotomy. During the procedure surgeons realised Tahmeed’s bowel was perforated and his abdominal cavity had become grossly contaminated with faecal matter and needed to be washed out.
Following the two-hour surgery, Tahmeed was transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit but never recovered. He suffered a cardiac arrest and despite 45 minutes of resuscitation attempts, he died at 2.50pm.