Mums of deaf babies to sue Mayday Hospital over diagnosis blunder
Parents are suing Mayday Hospital for negligence after their deaf children were misdiagnosed.
Last week the Croydon Guardian revealed that Mayday Hospital had to contact 700 families after a machine for testing babies’ hearing was calibrated incorrectly.
The trust had to contact families of babies tested as far back as 2003 to make sure none of them had been missed by the faulty equipment.
So far six children have been identified with a hearing loss that was not picked up by the first test.
Four of these were already being seen by the hearing service. The other two are now receiving care.
Fifty-six children are awaiting a second repeat hearing test as the results of the first were inconclusive.
Three mums are now suing the hospital because their babies are deaf and they allege the hospital failed to spot this.
Jovita Bodamer-MacGregor, five, Sophie Adams, three, and Abigail Bright-Salami, five, were all repeatedly tested from a young age and only properly diagnosed as deaf in the past year.
Housewife Karen Bodamer-MacGregor and her husband Johan, from Broad Green, are deaf and they were worried their daughter Jovita would suffer from the same condition when she was born.
But numerous tests over the past five years either came back as negative or inconclusive.
She was finally diagnosed as moderately to severely deaf in November last year thanks to the persistence of her primary school teacher Donna Shoulder.
She had hearing aids fitted in December and her mother now faces a battle to get her a statement of special needs to ensure she receives specialist education.
Paula Adams, a bank worker from east Croydon, went through a traumatic birth with her daughter Sophie. She has been concerned her daughter has had hearing difficulties since birth, but Sophie was only diagnosed as moderately to severely deaf when she was three.
Mrs Adams said: “I don’t feel I have had any support from anyone, especially not Mayday Hospital. It admitted liability but has not offered us any advice.”
Sophie is due to start at a special needs nursery in September. She will get the support Jovita has missed out on.
Michelle Salami, from Crystal Palace, began to doubt her own instincts when she was told her daughter’s hearing was fine.
It was only when her daughter’s speech and language therapist insisted she be tested independently, she was finally diagnosed as profoundly deaf in October last year.
Abigail’s aunt Beverley Radway-Bright said: “To date there has been no correspondence forthcoming from Mayday Hospital.
“In fact, without reading your article we could only assume the equipment was faulty, as socially we had met other parents of deaf children who had been misdiagnosed at Mayday.”
A Mayday spokeswoman said: “The patient notification exercise is not over yet, and we continue to try to contact every family to offer them the chance of a repeat hearing test.
“We are sorry to hear some families may not have received a letter from us about their child’s hearing test and ask them to get in touch with Mayday, if they have not already done so, so we can look into the matter.”
Clare Edole and Vanessa Dullaway, joint chairwomen of the Croydon Deaf Children's Society said: "We are very concerned as a charity for deaf children in Croydon and we would like anyone affected by this to contact us if they have any concerns, so that we may point them in the right direction.”
Housewife Karen Bodamer-MacGregor, 40, is deaf and so is her husband.
Their daughter Jovita, five, was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf in November last year.
Mrs Bodamer-MacGregor said: “What hurts me the most is that I battled for four-and-half years with no success and then finally, [doctors] listened to a teacher, not me as a parent, to get Jovita diagnosed.
“It has left me emotionally upset, stressed and under the most amount of strain that I didn’t succeed to get Jovita diagnosed much earlier.”
She said the struggle had put a strain on her marriage. Her husband did not know whether to believe her or a doctor.
Jovita was tested independently in South Africa where the audiologist confirmed she was deaf.
She said: “My husband was shocked and dismayed to learn the truth.
“We realised that Jovita was almost five years old at that time falling flat on her face trying to be at a level with her hearing peers simply because she wasn’t provided with hearing aids or worst, wasn’t diagnosed deaf much earlier.”
Bank worker Paula Adams, 37, said her daughter Sophie's tests as a baby were inconclusive.
Doctors told Mrs Adams her daughter’s hearing was fine.
When Sophie was two years old and her speech had not developed properly and Mrs Adams began to get worried.
Sophie was tested again at three in October 2008 and was diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears.
Mrs Adams said: “She should have been diagnosed at three or four months old.
“For three years she has missed out on developing speech and language.”
Michelle Salami, 46, learned her five-year-old daughter Abigail was profoundly deaf in October last year.
Her hearing was first tested at Mayday Hospital in November 2006 when she was two and her mother was told it was within normal parameters.
Mrs Salami said: “Her speech and language therapist said ‘I think she can’t hear’. She said we should get referred to a specialist unit at the Nuffield Centre.
“I thought ‘here we go again’. I humoured them and went along with it and I got the biggest shock of my life when I found out my daughter was deaf.
“She is really clever because she has just been lipreading all along.
“When she first got the hearing aid fitted I took her outside to go to school. We stepped outside and it was dead quiet apart from some birds tweeting in the trees.
“She was really puzzled and I had to explain to her what she was hearing.”
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