News

Syringe mix-up led to brain damage and a possible £24m payout

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1202 (Published 28 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1202
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A 13 year old girl left with serious brain damage after her right internal carotid artery was mistakenly injected with glue in a mix-up over unlabelled syringes has received what will be one of the biggest medical negligence settlements in the history of the NHS in England if she lives into her 60s.

Maisha Najeeb, aged 10 at the time, was undergoing angiography and embolisation treatment for an arteriovenous malformation in her brain when the incident occurred at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London in June 2010.

The glue used to block blood vessels and reduce blood flow into the arteriovenous malformation was mistaken for the harmless dye for use in angiography to show how blood was flowing in the brain.

Maisha is now in a wheelchair, has difficulty communicating, and will need constant care for the rest of her life.

The settlement will give her a lump sum of £2.8m (€3.4m; $4.6m), £383 000 a year until she turns 19, then £423 000 a year for the rest of her life. A medical expert instructed by her lawyers suggested that she could live into her 60s, giving her a total of £24m, although the NHS Litigation Authority, acting for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, estimated a shorter life expectancy.

Her solicitor, Edwina Rawson of the law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, said, “What is so heart breaking about this case is that the injury was so avoidable. If the syringes had been marked up so the hospital could see which contained glue and which contained dye, then Maisha would not have suffered what is an utterly devastating brain injury. Such easily avoidable mistakes should not happen.”

The trust admitted liability for Maisha’s injuries and apologised unreservedly for the shortcomings in her care. It said in a statement, “Maisha’s family have engaged open-heartedly with the trust, which has allowed staff to really learn from what happened to Maisha, so that improvements can be made for the future.”

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1202

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