Medical negligence compensation awarded to parents of boy who coughed up tube

In 2007, doctors failed to remove a six-inch PVC breathing tube from a new-born baby, and the error was only discovered when he coughed up the tube more than a week later. The boy’s parents pursued a medical negligence claim, and have now won a 5-figure settlement from Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The endotracheal tube was required because one of Owen Thomas’ shoulders became stuck during his delivery (this is known as shoulder dystocia).

Over a week later, his mother, Clare Thomas, 33, was horrified to see him cough up the tube that was supposed to have been removed.

Although there have been no long-term effects, Mrs Thomas, from Cannock, Staffordshire, said she is convinced her son wouldn’t have survived if she hadn’t been present when he coughed up the tube. She made medical staff aware of her concerns in the days after his birth, but they assured her everything was OK.

When Owen was 10 days old, Mrs Thomas was being visited by her husband and one of her friends at Stafford Hospital’s specialist care unit when her baby “turned blue and looked like he was choking.” She described how she “slapped him on the back and this tube came out.” A nurse took Owen away, gave him oxygen and a check-up.

Following the settlement, Mrs Thomas chose not to reveal exactly how much compensation had been paid.

Only 2 other comparable incidents have occurred elsewhere in the world, according to Mrs Thomas and her husband Kev. She decided against going back to Stafford Hospital when she fell pregnant with her second child. Instead, she gave birth to a healthy baby named Phoebe at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton in 2009.

Colin Ovington, director of nursing & midwifery at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, confirmed that the case had been settled.

400 more deaths than expected occurred at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2008, according to a 2009 Healthcare Commission report. Furthermore, routine neglect at the hands of Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust was identified by an independent inquiry in 2010.

Speak to an expert about claiming medical negligence compensation.

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