Monday 23 July 2018

Mistake in surgery left boy (4) brain damaged

Jude Miley with his mum and dad Anne Louise and Greville from Dundrum in Dublin Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
Jude Miley with his mum and dad Anne Louise and Greville from Dundrum in Dublin Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File

Tim Healy

A four-year-old boy was left profoundly brain damaged after an operation in Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin, the High Court has heard.

Jude Miley was only six months old when a suture used in an operation to release his diaphragm and help his breathing remained untrimmed, causing damage to the heart muscle.

Two days later, he had a heart attack and had to be rushed to theatre for emergency surgery which saved his life.

The child, through his father, has sued the hospital and a settlement of €1.8m has already been agreed in relation to his accommodation and loss of earnings.

The court is now assessing damages in relation to the cost of his future care. Liability was admitted last year.

His parents, Anne Louise and Greville Miley, were told he had suffered irreversible damage as a result of what happened.

An MRI scan days later showed he had widespread damage to the brain.

Liam Reidy SC, for Jude, told the court from the time of the original operation, every time he took a breath, the raw end of the suture was piercing sword-like around the heart.

"They were not told a mistake had been made - that a suture had been left untied down - and every time poor baby Jude took a breath he was causing injury to his heart," counsel said.

The Mileys asked to be involved in the hospital's internal investigation but, counsel said, they were not consulted or kept informed.

Mr Reidy said a most remarkable feature of this case was "a whitewash" put forward by the hospital. But the hospital denied there was any cover up, the court heard.

Jude, of Holywell, Upper Kilcmacud Road, Dundrum, Dublin, sued the hospital through his father.

Jude was born on July 16, 2011 and by January of the following year a condition regarding the contour of his diaphragm was diagnosed.

Surgery was carried out on January 24, 2012 which Jude's side contended was below the standard of care.

It is claimed a suture was placed in the wrong place. damaging the heart resulting in the baby deteriorating, and culminating in the baby suffering a cardiac arrest on January 26.

It is claimed there was an alleged failure to use the correct suture. It was further alleged that before placing any sutures there was a failure to ensure the surgeon could visualise both the heart and other organs - which it was claimed was vital in such a procedure.

There was also an alleged failure to take into account and act appropriately upon the baby's parents' concern post-operatively regarding Jude's condition.

The court heard the Mileys brought their son to the UK and US for treatment after friends set up a trust fund to help Jude.

Both parents had to give up their jobs to care for him.

The case resumes on Friday.

Irish Independent

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