The parents of a six-week-old baby say they are furious with staff at a Bolton hospital after being prescribed a ‘potentially fatal’ dose of drugs to help treat their newborn – 15 times over the recommended amount.
On March 6, full-time carer Heather Jennings, 37, from Farnworth, gave birth to baby boy Jadon at Royal Bolton Hospital – her first with husband Gareth, 36. Her partner said the birth was marred by problems from the get-go, with misjudged labor and a ruptured placenta.
A month after his difficult birth, baby Jadon fell ill with a high temperature and was rushed to the hospital. It was initially thought that Jadon had contracted a bug due to cross-contamination, before doctors suggested he might need to receive an IV drip for suspected meningitis. It was later decided to treat Jadon for the initial infection instead.
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Last Thursday (April 14), the hospital prescribed Jadon with Clindamycin – medicine used to combat infection – with the instructions of three 5ml spoonfuls, four times a day. As prescribed, Jadon would have received 60ml of the medication a day.
It was only after a community nurse visited the family the day before the round of medication was due to begin that they were warned that the prescribed dosage was 15 times over the recommended amount. “The community nurse had left some stuff in the kitchen so ella had come back to pick it up,” Gareth, who also works as a carer, tells the MEN
“While they were here, my wife mentioned that the prescription seemed a bit high and asked them to check it. The nurse turned to my wife and went ‘You’ve not given him this yet, have you?’. He was absolutely shocked. He explained that if we gave that amount to him, he’d overdose and be dead by the end of the week.”
Gareth said he was left ‘absolutely fuming’ after the nurse’s comment and went to the hospital for a clarification on how it had managed to happen. “I went and kicked off at the hospital,” I explained. “I was going absolutely mental. They don’t know where the buck ends, and I haven’t got a clue how they’ve managed to make that mistake.”
He said the medication has since been amended to be 1ml four times a day – but the parents are now so concerned about the advice, that they are refusing to visit the hospital again. “How are we supposed to trust them anymore?,” Gareth asked. “I did question that it seemed quite a lot initially but we only went off what we were told to do. We’re not medically trained, how are we supposed to know that it was potentially fatal?
“I have no trust in Royal Bolton hospital now. My baby’s leg could be hanging off and I’d still drive past that hospital and go to Salford instead. I’ll never take him back to that hospital, never in a million years.
“I understand they’re overrun and they’re struggling at the moment, but at the end of the day they shouldn’t still be making potentially dangerous mistakes like this.This could have happened to someone else who doesn’t get a second opinion like we did.”
Gareth and Heather have now filed a complaint with Royal Bolton Hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service team and are demanding an investigation into how it happened. “It’s so hard to think about what could have been,” Gareth added. “There needs to be some retraining or adjustments. Something good has got to come from this.”
In a statement, Dr Francis Andrews, medical director at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m sorry that the Jennings family received incorrect advice about their medication and know that it must have been really concerning. We are working with them to fully understand their concerns around the care they have received as a family, so that we can establish any learning, and prevent anything similar happening in the future.”
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