NHS Trust Agrees Settlement Over ‘Truly Devastating’ Case
A Hospital Trust has apologised to a mum whose baby died at 23 days old following failings in the treatment of his high insulin levels.
Caliel Smith Kwami was born on 25 July, 2016, and spent his initial few days of life in intensive care at the Royal London Hospital due to low blood sugar levels. However, he was then discharged before the results of key insulin tests were known.
Several weeks later, on the day that his mother Sabreena Smith, 27, registered his birth, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died. He died from a condition linked to the effects of low blood glucose caused by excessive insulin.
An inquest held into Caliel’s death last year heard how the results of the vital insulin test were delayed because of a broken machine and that experts should have chased the results, as this would have ensured that Caliel was referred for specialist care.
It was also revealed that community midwives were not informed that the baby had been discharged so they could not chase the test results themselves.
Following his death, Sabreena instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care provided to Caliel by Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London.
The Trust has admitted liability for Caliel’s death and offered its “sincere apologies” to Sabreena regarding her son’s death. It has agreed an undisclosed settlement which will fund the specialist support Sabreena needs to try and overcome her son’s death.
Alwen Williams CBE, the Trust’s Chief Executive wrote in a letter to Sabreena: “Whilst I appreciate no words will change the very sad outcome in Caliel’s care I was extremely saddened to hear that there were failings in the care provided by the Trust to your son which contributed to his death.”
He added that the Trust had learnt lessons from Caliel’s death.
Expert Opinion“This is a truly devastating case which is made even more tragic by the fact that Caliel’s death could and should have been avoided.
“Whilst nothing will ever change what Sabreena and her family have been through, we are pleased that the Trust has acknowledged failings in the care Caliel received, and made improvements to the care their patients receive.
“We welcome the Trust’s pledge to learn lessons and introduce new practices to improve patient care. It is vital that staff uphold these at all times so others don’t have to suffer the pain that Sabreena has.
“Now that the case has concluded, it is hoped that Sabreena can access the support she requires to try and come to terms with her harrowing ordeal.
“We hope that the admission and apology from the Trust can provide some sort of closure for Sabreena and she can try to look to the future.” Georgie Cushing (Née Kerr-Dineen) - Senior Associate
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Caliel was born at the Barkantine Birth Centre. He was admitted to Royal London Hospital the following day after concerns were raised in a routine midwife assessment. By 2 August his blood sugar levels had improved and he was discharged.
However, on 17 August, he turned blue and despite being taken to Newham General Hospital he died several hours later. An investigation into his death was subsequently carried out by Barts Health NHS Trust and recommended that all neonatal test results were followed up before babies were discharged from hospital.
Sabreena said: “Caliel was taken from us far too soon but the three weeks I had with him were the best time of my life. More than two years on from his death it is still very hard to think about what happened and how, if things had been different, he could have still been here.
“It is absolutely vital that everything I have been through never happens again and I hope that the investigation, inquest and now this admission of liability are signs that lessons are already being learned from Caliel’s death.
“His name means ‘guardian angel’ and I hope that what has happened will ensure that other children are protected and get the standard of care that they need and deserve.”
Since Caliel’s death the Trust has implemented a number of new practices including newborn test results must be followed up prior to discharge from hospital and that maternity services ensure correct address details of new mums are recorded for follow up community midwife appointments.
Staff involved in Caliel’s care have also received feedback.