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Newborn baby coughs up feeding tube

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The parents of a newborn baby have won a clinical negligence claim after doctors left a six inch plastic feeding tube inside the child, which was then coughed up 10 days later.

When the child, Owen Thomas, was born he had to be fitted with an endotracheal tube as he failed to breathe correctly. This condition, known as shoulder dystocia, occurred because one of Owen’s shoulders was stuck during birth.

Staff at Stafford Hospital then forgot to remove the six inch feeding tube, which meant Owen ended up coughing it up ten days later.

Parents, Clare Thomas, aged 33, and Kevin Thomas, aged 35, from Cannock in Staffordshire have recently won their claim of negligence at the expense of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Owen, who is now four, did not sustain any long-term affects as a result of the incident, but his mother believed that he would have died if she had not been present when the tube made it’s reappearance  in February 2007.

Mrs. Thomas also revealed that she had serious concerns about the health of Owen in the days after his birth, but staff at the hospital said that everything was fine.

Commenting on the situation, Mrs. Thomas said that when Owen was 10 days old he had turned blue in the specialist care unit of Stafford Hospital. She then slapped him on the back and the feeding tube came out.

Owen was then taken away to be checked over by a nurse, and was also given oxygen.

Mrs. Thomas had another child two years later called Phoebe, but she didn’t opt to have her child at the same hospital and instead gave birth at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

Owen’s parents said that to their knowledge there had only been two incidents like this worldwide.

Mrs. Thomas refused to reveal the amount they were paid in compensation, but it was said that the couple were awarded a five-figure amount.

Mr. Colin Ovington who is the director of the nursing and midwifery at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust confirmed that the case had been settled.

In 2009, Stafford Hospital was also in the headlines as the Healthcare Commission had found that there were 400 more deaths than there should have been during the period of 2005 to 2008.

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust was driven by cost-cutting and targets which meant an independent inquiry in 2010 revealed that patients were regularly neglected.