Newborn girl suffers permanent brain injury after hospital makes unthinkable error

Danial and Benish Khan at the bedside of daughter Amelia. (Facebook/The Sydney Morning Herald)

The parents of a newborn girl, who survived being mistakenly administered nitrous oxide via an oxygen line in hospital but sustained irreversible brain damage, have spoken publicly for the first time. The catastrophic error occurred in a hospital in Sydney, Australia, shortly after the June birth of Amelia — a first child for Danial and Benish Khan.

Soon after her birth via cesarean section, her parents say, Amelia became seriously and inexplicably unwell. The brain damage has left her with constant seizures, reliant on a feeding tube and in need of high-level care, after a contractor incorrectly installed the gas pipes in one of the hospital’s operating theaters. The gross mistake became compounded by a series of errors, according to a report by the state’s chief health officer. It took the death of another newborn before the hospital identified the error.

Amelia Khan suffered a permanent brain injury after mistakenly being administered nitrous oxide in hospital. (Facebook)

Amelia Khan suffered a permanent brain injury after being administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen shortly after birth. (Facebook)

“It’s devastating as a parent to be told that your precious daughter has suffered permanent brain damage,” the Khans told The Sydney Morning Herald. “She will always live with the consequences of what was done to her at the hospital. But we will always be by her side and we’ll do everything we can to give her the best possible future.”

A lawyer representing the family, Libby Brookes, described the parents as “very traumatized.”

“After Amelia was born, and she was very unwell, everybody was wondering what happened to her. They’re just beautiful parents who are trying to look after their first baby …[and] worried about her constant seizures.”

“Everyone’s very hopeful she’ll have a good recovery, but she has a permanent brain injury,” said Brookes.

Compensation is being fast-tracked by the state for the family.

Read the full story at The Sydney Morning Herald.


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