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Mother sues hospital 6 year's after son loses hearing

Rochelle Purcell says jaundice was not treated at birth soon enough leading to her son's loss of hearing

Thursday 8 June
Mother sues hospital 6 year's after son loses hearing

Editor - June 08 at 07:30

Like most first-time mums Rochelle Purcell dreamt of sharing the milestones of her newborn son’s early life, his first words, first steps and first responses to the sights and sounds of the world around him. But a large part of her son’s future was lost when he was robbed of his hearing after being struck down by jaundice, a condition so common it gives about six out of 10 newborns a yellowish tinge of varying degrees, and that is even more prevalent among premature babies.
In a bid to warn other mothers of the potential danger, Ms Purcell went public about the mistakes she claims destroyed her son Lloyd Henderson’s hearing just hours after he was born 19 days premature. “It’s heartbreaking to think that the events of a single day would have such a devastating and lifelong impact on our little boy,” she said. “At the time, as new parents, we didn’t know much about jaundice and its potential impacts on babies. “We’d like to see much greater public awareness about jaundice, so that all parents can understand how dangerous it can be if it’s not properly treated.”
Jaundice is caused by a build-up of bilirubin because a newborn’s liver can take a few days to process. It is easily treated by exposing newborns to light. In a writ lodged in the Supreme Court on her son’s behalf, Ms Purcell, from Heathmont, Melbourne, Australia alleges her son’s bilirubin was allowed to reach neurotoxic levels, irreparably damaging his auditory nerve, which carries sound signals from the inner ear to the brain. As a result Lloyd suffered hearing loss causing delayed and impaired speech and language development and an uncertain prognosis for his future learning capacity and other cognitive development. The family’s lawyer, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers’ associate Shari Liby said the claim was about making sure that Lloyd could access all the care and support that he will need throughout his life to function in a hearing world. “Families who hold our healthcare system to account when mistakes are made improve safety for all Australians,” she said.
Source:Herald Sun

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