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Hospital bosses apologise to family for failings during birth of Lhana Bedoya
A Garston family has had to wait nine years for an apology from health bosses for a brain injury that left their baby daughter severely disabled and dependent on care for the rest of her life.
Lhana Bedoya’s brain was starved of oxygen while she was being delivered at Watford General Hospital in 2003.
As a result she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy a few weeks later and has been left with an average life expectancy of 27 years.
Lhana’s condition means she has limited vision and needs to be fed by a tube.
She is also intellectually impaired meaning she needs 24-hour care seven days a week.
Bosses at the hospital initially blamed a fall Lhana’s mum, Ursula Bodeya, had four days before the birth for her condition.
However a full investigation into Lhana’s birth has brought to light failings by medical staff to monitor her heart rate as she was being delivered which led to her not getting enough oxygen. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has now accepted liability for Lhana’s condition this and offered the family an “unreserved” apology.
In the letter to the family, Jan Filochowski, the trust’s chief executive, said: “Following a detailed investigation into Lhana’s birth, the trust accepts without reservation that Lhana did not receive the standard of care to which she was entitled.”
However, Fabien Bodeya, Lhana’s father and full-time carer, spoke of his disgust at the letter they received.
He said: “Although they have admitted full responsibility, the apology is very short and I still feel very angry that I will never receive an apology from the actual midwives that were responsible for this.
“It is disgusting and it concerns me that these people still have a job and will not even get a slap on the wrist.
“Lhana should not and does not deserve this state of life.”
Lhana’s mother, Ursula, had a very traumatic birth and Lhana went in to intensive care straight away.
At first the trust said Lhana’s condition had been caused when Ms Bodeya fell over on a slippery car park four days before she gave birth.
However, after the fall doctors reassured Ursula her unborn baby was unaffected and still healthy. Ursula, 34, said it was “wonderful” that the hospital had accepted full responsibility – however, she still remained angry she had been blamed for Lhana’s condition.
She said: “The letter is ridiculous, how can a few lines of an apology justify someone’s life?
“I feel so relieved that I can now tell people confidently that it wasn’t my fault for Lhana’s brain damage.”
“It was such a low time for me and if I could have I would have jumped off of the nearest cliff.
“If it wasn’t for Fabien and others around me at that time I don’t know what I would have done.”
A statement released by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The trust has accepted liability for Lhana’s injuries and apologised unreservedly. “We hope that the financial aspect of the claim can be resolved amicably and as quickly as possible. “In the meantime, we have made an interim payment of damages to assist Lhana whilst the claim is ongoing and provide for a better quality of life.”
Following the hospital accepting liability, Lhana will receive a £250,000 interim payment organised by her solicitors firm, Irwin Mitchell, towards specialist care and equipment.
Meanwhile, the family now face another ordeal and months of legal wrangling as they decide on whether to take a lump sum based on Lhana’s life expectancy or monthly payments towards providing 24-hour care.
The family’s solicitors will come to an agreement with the trust’s legal team over providing money towards providing Lhana with travel, accommodation, carers and equipment.
This will also mean the family facing a heart-rending wait for the solicitors to agree on how long they think Lhana is expected to live.
Mr Bodeya, a plasterer and qualified personal trainer, added: “This has only set the ball rolling to getting the best care and equipment for Lhana to live a better life.
“It has been a long time coming and we probably be waiting another year for it all to be sorted.
“I am looking forward to being a dad to Lhana and not just a carer.”
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