NHS fails baby born with back-to-front knees

July 1, 2010 | by | 4 Comments

The distraught family of a baby boy born with back-to-front knees slammed the NHS for failing to treat him properly.

Little Gabriell Camilleri-Nugent was born with hyperextended knees and bronchomalacia, meaning his lungs and airways are too small for him to breathe on his own.

A 20-week scan showed Gabriell’s legs were doubled back near his head in the womb, instead of being curled up in the foetal position.

When he was born by caesarian section last December his shocked family said it looked ”like he was doing the splits” as his knee caps are effectively ‘back to front’..

Now aged six months, he has worn plaster casts on both legs since birth and is waiting to be transferred to a specialist hospital for treatment.

But angry grandmother Carol, 50, said Gabriell’s health was being compromised by NHS bureaucracy.

Carol, a stay-at-home mum-of-five from Bedford, said: ”Gabriell is still in neo-natal just lying in his cot. He has never been outside and we can only pick him up on a good day.

”He has got lung problems and dislocated knees but we don’t know if that’s a particular syndrome because he has not been assessed since he was three weeks old.

”Nobody wants to take control and the hospitals just kept moving the goal posts. We don’t know when or where he can be treated because no one wants to take him.

”The nurses have been wonderful and are backing us but officials are stopping him being treated. It’s disgusting how the NHS is treating our children.”

When Gabriell’s mum Shahna Camilleri, 17, gave birth in Bedford Hospital last December, doctors quickly realised he needed to be transferred to a specialist unit.

They sent him to the Royal Brompton Hospital in London at three weeks old but as tiny Gabriell only weighed 3lbs 13oz he was too weak for surgery.

Royal Brompton transferred him to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Herts., to gain weight, with a promise to take him back as soon as he hit 7lbs.

But Gabriell’s family claimed when he hit 7lbs at the age of three months in March, Royal Brompton said he needed to be heavier and they had no free beds.

Now aged six months, Gabriell remains in the neo-natal unit in Lister Hospital where they lack the specialist expertise to treat him.

Four weeks ago his family were told he is third on the waiting list to be transferred to Great Ormond Street Hopsital, but Carol said they had no guarantee of when that would happen.

Shahna and her partner Connor Nugent, 17, who is training to be a football coach, were warned during pregnancy that Gabriell would have chronic knee and lung problems.

Since birth he has been permanently attached to a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help him breathe.

He also has dysmorphic features, wears plaster casts on both legs and contracted the E.coli virus twice and pneumonia once.

Shahna said she feels let down by the NHS and frustrated with the delay in getting Gabriell to a specialist unit.

She said: ”I spend around eight hours day at the hospital, at least five days a week, and rely on lifts from family and friends to be able to see him.

”It’s been awful for us. I haven’t even been able to hold my own baby or feed him without a nurse being present.

”Our focus now is to get him into Great Ormond Street, that is the only hospital left that will be able to treat him.

”After six months of him just being kept alive at Lister we just want to get him treated and given a proper diagnosis as we still have no idea what is wrong.”

A spokeswoman for Royal Brompton Hospital, a specialist heart and lung centre, insisted they were not the best place to treat Gabriell’s severe health problems.

She said: ”We have been in discussions with colleagues at Lister Hospital about the best treatment for baby Gabriell for some time.

”Given Gabriell’s complex medical condition and multiple organ problems we feel that he would be best cared for at a specialist centre that can treat all his needs.”

A spokesman for the Lister Hospital said Gabriell’s needs are highly specialist and he is need of complex treatment.

He said: ”We are helping support him with breathing and developmental requirements but we don’t have the specialism or resources to do more.

”The actual treatment he needs has to be provided by a specialist centre like Great Ormond Street or Royal Brompton.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. Mike Sugar says:

    E.coli is NOT a virus. It is a bacterium. 99.9% of E.coli strains are not harmful – they are beneficial. It is only a handful of entero-pathogenic strains of E.coli (usually O127) that are responsible for serious illness. Pretty shoddy reporting from a Health Correspondent.

  2. Mike Sugar says:

    E.coli is NOT a virus. It is a bacterium. 99.9% of E.coli strains are not harmful – they are beneficial. It is only a handful of entero-pathogenic strains of E.coli (usually O127) that are responsible for serious illness. Pretty shoddy reporting from a Health Correspondent.

  3. Eagpro2 says:

    Where lawsuits happen.

  4. Pushchairs says:

    Getting children off to sleep: Best products to send children to sleep from cots that transform into beds to cut…

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