A SRI LANKAN refugee has won a legal battle against the NHS after her child was brain-damaged, as hospital staff did not explain the importance of feeding a newborn and “effectively ignored” her concerns about the crying baby.
Nilujan Rajatheepan was delivered by caesarean section at King George Hospital in Goodmayes, London, in July 2009.
The child’s mother, Sinthiya, a Tamil refugee, was 21 when Nilujan was born and spoke only a few words of English.
When the community midwife visited the family at home after the birth, Nilujan was pale and lethargic, having not been fed for more than 15 hours which resulted in brain injuries. The child, now 8, has cerebral palsy.
Last week, judge Martin McKenna ruled that Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Foundation Trust in London was liable.
McKenna said midwives had failed to hire an interpreter to tell the young mother the importance of feeding her baby, and were negligent in failing to tackle the language barrier.
He said the compensation figure will be assessed at a later date.
Wendy Matthews, director of midwifery at the NHS trust, said: “We would like to say sorry again to Nilujan and the Rajatheepan family and express our sincere sympathies to them.
“We are considering the implications of the judge’s ruling in this case. Although we have made huge improvements since this incident in 2009, we will take the opportunity to see if there are any more lessons about our postnatal care that we can learn.”