PARENTS are mourning the loss of their baby boy who died after he was given laughing gas instead of oxygen in hospital, an inquest heard.
John Ghanem died just under an hour after he was born when medics ventilated him with nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.
Today AustraliaSonya’s baby died after being given laughing gas by the hospital[/caption]
His mum Sonya arrived at Sydney‘s Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital on the morning of July 13, 2016, after her waters broke.
A coroner heard how the woman’s obstetrician decided to give Sonya an emergency caesarean because John’s heartbeat had slowed to dangerous levels.
When he was finally delivered at 11.54am, doctors noticed he was choking on his umbilical cord that had wrapped around his neck during birth and began administering a NeoPuff resuscitator.
But that wasn’t enough, and medics quickly decided to get John what they thought was 100 per cent oxygen, but instead filled his little lungs with dangerous nitrous oxide out of the operating theatre’s gas panel.
By 12.50pm, the newborn child was declared dead.
Five years after their baby John died, Sonya and husband Youssef still wander into his bedroom, hoping to see him in his cot.
“I come home and look at his room and no baby,” the Aussie mum-of-three, said.
“I went in [to the hospital] empty handed thinking I’ll hold my newborn but no.”
Not the first time
The inquest heard how one doctor at the hospital – Dr Phillip Emder – requested a test of gas valves in the theatre after a girl he delivered weeks earlier wasn’t able to breathe when given gas and suffered severe brain damage.
It took nearly a week for tests to be carried out, which found nitrous oxide was coming out of the valve, not oxygen.
The inquest will hear the causes behind baby John’s death, as well as why the pipelines weren’t properly tested earlier and who installed them.
“‘One can’t truly understand what it must have been like for the Ghanem family as they both grieved the loss of their child and came to learn about the shocking chain of events at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital that led to his death,” counsel assisting the inquiry Donna Wars said.
“The fact that we cannot truly understand what that was like for them does not excuse us from trying to put ourselves in the position of the Ghanem family”.
The hearing comes after one BOC employee – a company that provides industrial gasses – was found guilty of breaching NSW Work Health and Safety rules.
Christopher Turner was slapped with a $100,000 (£54,000) fine and found guilty of deceiving his employer and the hospital’s assistant engineer.
A 2016 investigation found Operating Theatre Eight was the only place in the Australian state of NSW where gases were incorrectly labelled.
The problem went undetected for more than a year.
Facebook/ Sonya GhanemSony and Youssef’s son died less than an hour after birth[/caption]
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Counsel Ward said he hoped the inquest would “minimise the chance of it ever happening again”.
A South Western Sydney Local Health District spokesperson said the body “extends its deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones for their tragic loss”.
They stated that in 2019, the District “entered into enforceable undertakings with SafeWork NSW” to improve the ongoing management of work health and safety risks.
They said that as the matter is before the Coroner, it was not appropriate to comment further.
Just weeks before John’s death, baby Amelia Khan suffered permanent brain damage after she was accidentally given laughing gas in the same operating theatre.
The inquest continues.