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It was the most tragic story, which could easily have been prevented. Now, these parents will be living with the impact of this deadly hospital bungle for the rest of their lives.

The parents of a little girl, who was administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen when she was born, have spoken out about the awful mix-up that has ‘ruined their lives’ forever.

Tragic Hospital Bungle

A subcontractor failed to perform the necessary tests when installing medical gas in the delivery ward at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital in Sydney. As a result, the two gas pipelines were mixed up and the life-saving oxygen gas pipe was actually pumping out potentially fatal nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas).

The Khan family were victims of this terrible hospital bungle when their daughter, Amelia was born via C-section in June 2016 at the hospital.

The birth team made the decision to administer oxygen to the newborn to assist her breathing, of course, not realising the gas line had been mixed up and they were inadvertently poisoning the baby instead.

As a direct result of this hospital bungle, Amelia suffered critical and irreparable brain damage.

baby amelia hospital
Photo via 60 Minutes

Another Baby Is A Victim Of The Mix-Up

In a related case, another newborn, John Ghanem, died at the same hospital a month later after also being administered the incorrect gas.

Parents Speak Up About Life-Altering Mistake

Amelia’s parents Benish and Danial Khan opened up about the life-changing incident on 60 Minutes on Sunday night.

“You would never for a second think that in a country like Australia, something like this can happen,” Mrs Khan told 60 Minutes.

“I am angry about this. And you know what? You really have ruined our lives.”

Haunting

Disturbing footage broadcast on 60 minutes, shows the exact moment the medical team put a mask over Amelia’s face to assist her breathing.

“To this day, I remember in that theatre listening to her cries in between. Listening to them take that mask off for that couple of seconds, hearing her squealing, just not the sound that a baby makes… it was the sound that a baby makes in pain,” recounts Mrs Kahn.

“It is just something that haunts you forever!” said Mrs Kahn.

baby amelia
Pic Via PRUE VICKERY

Condemned!

The installer, Christopher Turner, was charged with serious workplace health and safety breaches and was sentenced last month in the Downing Centre District Court after he admitted to lying that he tested the gas outlets when he hadn’t.

Mr Turner pleaded guilty and was fined $100,000. District Court Judge David Russell said both families had cause to consider the punishment lenient, but noted there was no scope under the Act to impose a prison sentence.

Mr. Turner’s penalty (the maximum fine under the Act is $150,000) was reduced for his cooperation with authorities and expressing remorse in a written statement.

Judge Russell said the mix-up would not have occurred if the contractor had “properly carried out tests of no great complexity”.

“In 43 years as a barrister and then a judge I cannot think of a more tragic case,” he said.

“Amelia Khan has been condemned to a terrible existence. Her parents will have to provide care and assistance to Amelia and deal with their own grief.”

Amelia is likely to develop life-long quadriplegic cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities, is unlikely to develop speech and would be reliant on others for all aspects of her care.

older amelia
Amelia is now 4 years old. Pic via Channel Nine

No Grudges

However, Amelia’s doting parents remain positive despite their tragic circumstances.

“I can’t imagine Amelia in any other way, she’s funny, she’s strong, she’s resilient,” Mr Khan said. “We’ve accepted what happened.”

“We like to teach Amelia that although these things happen, we forgive and we don’t hold grudges with anybody. We never have,” Mrs Khan said.

The parents of the newborn boy who died due to the hospital bungle, Sonya and Youssef Ghanem, have released a statement through their family lawyer Stephen Mainstone.

“No penalty handed down by a court will ever bring back their son who they lost in not only tragic but completely avoidable circumstances,” the statement said.

So sad!

What are your thoughts about this awful hospital bungle? Tell us in the comments below.

  • How horrible. A real tragedy to happen.

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  • I couldn’t even imagine what they have gone through

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  • This should never have happened – I feel so sorry for the parents. I watched this on 60 minutes the other day and felt so sorry for the brave parents of Amelia.

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  • That is so sad.

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  • I can’t believe the parents could forgive this person. It was all caused by his negligence in not doing a test that is mandatory. I wish Amelia and her parents all the best and my condolences to the parents who lost their son.
    I’m wondering why this wasn’t sorted out after the incident with Amelia, If so then the second child wouldn’t have died.

    Reply

  • This is such heartbreaking and so tragic on so many levels. But what amazing parents they are to not be angry or bitter and to forgive. I don’t know that I could find that in myself. I wish them all the best.

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  • I remember this case, so horrible! I don’t know why the subcontractor would think is it’s okay not to test that!

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  • Oh my goodness, this is awful. If this happened to me I would never forgive.

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  • The poor family i can only imagine what they went through

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  • Poor innocent child. Can’t imagine how the parents feel right now.

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  • An innocent mistake with life long consequences. How tragic :(

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  • This is heart breaking, I feel so sorry for the family for having to go through this and that poor baby.

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  • Such a horrible tragic outcome from poor controls and legislation

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  • Some hospitals are just crap and need to train there staff better. You give complaints about certain workers especially in the maternity ward and it accomplishes nothing. They go through that many people in the wards some workers just stop caring and its just another day for them. I really feel for these familys i have no idea how a grudge couldnt be held because id be a spiteful prude so cudos to them.

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  • So heartbreaking indeed !
    How wonderful Amelia’s parents remain positive, have forgiven and don’t hold grudges.
    No penalty will bring back the life for the couple that lost their son, very very sad.

    Reply

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