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Monday 12 November 2018

Toddler choking on popcorn suffered brain damage after cough misdiagnosis

'Liability was conceded in the case. The €3.1m is for the next seven years, after which Jasveen will come back to court for her future care needs to be assessed' (stock photo)
'Liability was conceded in the case. The €3.1m is for the next seven years, after which Jasveen will come back to court for her future care needs to be assessed' (stock photo)

A toddler who was rushed to hospital choking on a popcorn kernel later sustained brain damage after she was misdiagnosed with croup cough.

The kernel was not removed for three days from Jasveen Gill, now 11, the High Court heard.

The HSE and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, apologised to Jasveen as the legal action was settled with an interim payout of €3.1m.

Her counsel, Dr John O'Mahoney, said the "profoundly sad case" had been a nightmare for Jasveen and her family.

Jasveen was a perfectly happy child for one year and 10 months, but was now brain damaged and had difficulties with balance and poor speech.

Gasping

Three days after she was admitted to the Drogheda hospital, the toddler had a choking and gasping fit and emergency resuscitation was begun.

She was transferred to the Children's Hospital, Crumlin, where a bronchoscopy examination found the popcorn kernel lodged in her right lung.

Unfortunately, counsel said, it was too late for Jasveen who was in a very serious condition and remained unconscious for 30 days.

Yesterday the HSE and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital apologised unreservedly to Jasveen and her family "for the shortcomings over care" and the "distress and suffering" this had caused.

"As a result of the critical incident review completed in 2008 in relation to Jasveen's management, valuable lessons were learned and recommendations were implemented in order to prevent a reoccurrence," a statement read.

Liability was conceded in the case. The €3.1m is for the next seven years, after which Jasveen will come back to court for her future care needs to be assessed.

Actions brought by her parents Tajinder Gill and Amandeep Kaur for nervous shock were also settled, the court heard.

Jasveen, of Seafield Court, Rush, Co Dublin, sued the HSE through her father.

On May 10, 2008, Jasveen was at home when she swallowed some popcorn.

Counsel said the kernel went into her airway and she began coughing and was very quickly in a crisis situation.

Her grandmother and a neighbour tried to resuscitate her and she was rushed to Lourdes Hospital.

She was kept in for observation and had a further episode of choking and ended up in the intensive care unit where she was re-examined.

On May 13, she had a very severe bout of coughing, went in to cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. Counsel said that in the ambulance en route to the Children's Hospital, she had two further severe seizures.

Failure

It was claimed that at Lourdes Hospital Jasveen was incorrectly diagnosed with croup cough.

There was an alleged failure to carry out appropriate investigations at Lourdes Hospital and an alleged failure to diagnose the existence of a foreign body in her respiratory tract or lung.

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