Intended for healthcare professionals


NHS failed to communicate feeding advice to refugee mother, court rules

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 18 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1711
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

The NHS will have to pay millions of pounds in compensation after a baby was left severely brain damaged because his mother, a refugee, could not understand English.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust was liable for Nilujan Rajatheepan’s injuries because staff failed to communicate to his mother how to feed him properly, Judge Martin McKenna ruled at the High Court.

Nilujan was born by emergency caesarean section on the night of 16 July 2009 at King George Hospital in Goodmayes, Essex. His Apgar scores and blood cord readings were normal, and a consultant paediatrician who examined him had no concerns.

Nilujan’s parents were Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, and his 21 year old mother, Sinthiya, spoke only a very few words of English.

She went through the formal discharge …

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