Sonya and Youssef’s baby boy John lived for just 57 minutes. He died after he was mistakenly given a dose of unfiltered ­nitrous oxide gas instead of potentially lifesaving oxygen.

Ms Ghanem and her family had arrived at 2.30am on Wednesday, July 13, at Bankstown-­Lidcombe Hospital.

“They said they needed an emergency Caesarian,” Ms Ghanem’s elder daughter Chantal told The Australian. “They didn’t say why. It was rushed, all rushed. We were waiting and waiting and waiting … then we just find out, you know, gone. The baby’s gone.”

The family believed something had been wrong with baby John. A call came from hospital authorities told them something they never expected to hear. “We just got a call saying, ‘we need to talk to you as soon as possible’,” Chantal said.

“There’s some new information about the care your baby was given.”

They were told a valve meant to be administering oxygen had been deriving nitrous oxide, often used in smaller doses as a sedative and pain relief.

“They admitted it,” Ms Ghanem said. “They said ‘it’s basically our fault’. I lost it when they said that. I just wanted to kill them.”

It was a tense, hour-long meeting, which only magnified the family’s anger.

“A well-known hospital, everyone knows this hospital. All the antenatal checks were fine, heartbeat, everything was fine. Tick, tick, tick,” she said.

Chantal was eager to meet what would have been her second brother. “I am just so angry that an innocent life is gone due to something that should have never happened,” she said. “I just don’t understand how this gas was administered to my brother and why regular checks hadn’t been done when this was installed last year.”

“I held my baby; they [brought] him to me at the hospital,” Mrs Ghanem, told Channel Nine.

“I said, ‘I want to see him.’ Just looking at him, shaking. ‘My son, wake up,’ I would tell him. ‘Wake up, wake up. What did they do to you?’ ”

“The hardest thing was the burial,” Chantal said. “It happened on the Thursday the 21st … it’s been the hardest two weeks.”

When a second baby at the hospital experienced an unexplained deterioration – left with brain damage and severe impairment. Doctors would later find they repeated the same error which had killed Sonya and Youssef’s son.

Both children were wrongly administered nitrous oxide, dispensed through an oxygen outlet.

The second baby is currently on life support.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said she would not resign over the error.

“I’m assured that there are no other incidences such as this.

“I should make it clear that this is a gas line that goes into the theatre, not a cylinder, and it’s really a matter of installation and checking the gases.”

In a statement released last night, Ms Skinner said, “I am profoundly sorry for the families of a newborn who died and another newborn who was severely affected after the wrong gas was dispensed through a neonatal resuscitation outlet at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital.”

The Health Minister assured other families that all eight operating theatres have now been checked and no other outlets were found to be faulty.

Ms Skinner said that the outlet responsible has been fixed, but the theatre remains closed.

Our thoughts are with both families.

Share your comments below.

Image via 9 NEWS

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  • oh my god those poor familys what a tragedy. i would be so mad too its ridiculous this should never have happened.


  • A shocking story,my thoughts are with the poor parents,very sad.


  • This is absolutely disgusting. I hope the people responsible, are hd accountable


  • I also feel for the hospital staff as they would never have expected nitrous to be coming out of the o2 line. I don’t understand how that happened. They would have been doing their job never in a million years thinking some fool had messed up the lines. I’ve done it many many times and if you pick up the o2 tube you would expect oxygen to come out of it. So sad for the family and so sad for the doctor or midwife that administered it.


  • How could someone had passed this link and say it was dispersing the right gas should have their license revoked. They should be done for murder or man slaughter. Luckily more babies were not affected but to have a healthy baby then this happens in this day and age is so wrong. One child if it lives will have a life not like they should of had.


  • hospitals should double and triple check these things. They will PAY for it though. Condolences to the family


  • I hesitated to read this – A LOT !!!!! my heart breaks for this family. There is so much excitement and anticipation in the birth of a new babe, and its devastating when something out of our control happens and the babe is taken away – but to know it was ordinarily avoidable!!! Speechless :(


  • So sad :( RIP bubba and my heart goes to the baby number 2 also. Just so sad


  • This is so scary! My two youngest sons were both emergency caesareans and both had to be revived, the thought that this mistake could have happened is horrible! Deepest of sympathies to the families involved


  • This is so devastating. I don’t understand how checks of the work during installation of the lines did not pick this up.


  • Devastating for the family, devastating for the staff, and a completely avoidable error. Dreadful.


  • After losing my son at the start of the year my heart goes out to this family. Mine was also hospital error (not the same one) and it just leaves you numb


  • Oh that is absolutely heartbreaking!


  • This is shocking. What a horrible way to discover the problem with the gas outlet. :-(
    Poor baby. And the other one with brain damage… So sorry for those little babies. And their families… I can’t even imagine how bad they must feel. :-(


  • How do parents recover from this? I can’t imagine the anger and sadness they must be going through. My deepest, deepest condolences to Sonya and Youssef and their family.


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