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Devastated mother who pleaded for a caesarean sues after her newborn was born brain damaged

Devastated mother sues a hospital after her son was born with brain damage claiming it was because she was denied a caesarean that her little boy will struggle for the rest of his life

  • Mother suing hospital after her 18-month-old son was born brain damaged  
  • She said doctors at a Gold Coast Hospital ignored her request for a c-section
  • Mother-of-two was told only to deliver via caesarean after breaking her pelvis
  • Her son now requires 24/7 care and has severe developmental delays

A mother is suing a hospital after her son was born with brain damage claiming it is because doctors ignored her request to have a caesarean that he will require specialist care for the rest of his life.

Jess Ngaheu said she was told she could only have children through a c-section after breaking her pelvis in a car accident in 2006.

The mother-of-two claimed doctors ignored her request to deliver her second child Hawaiki, now 18-months-old, via caesarean delivery at Gold Coast University Hospital on November 19 in 2019. 

During labour Hawaiki ‘flew’ out of the birth canal with such force the umbilical cord was severed and he fell head-first onto the floor. Doctors have attributed extra amniotic fluid behind him for pushing him so suddenly into the world.

Jess Ngaheu (left) is suing a Gold Coast Hospital after her son Hawaiki (right) was born with brain damage

Ms Ngaheu and her husband Merv Ngaheu said they told staff at the hospital, who managed the pregnancy from 15 weeks onwards, the birth would have to be delivered by a caesarean.

After arriving at the hospital in labour at about 37 weeks pregnant, Ms Ngaheu said she was told she would be prepped to go into theatre.

However, after being reviewed by a hospital obstetrician, she claimed she was taken to the birthing suite for a natural delivery despite protesting the decision.

‘They took our power away from us. Both my husband and I told them I needed to have a caesarean but they denied us that and now our son is going to suffer for his entire life,’ Ms Ngaheu said.

After the traumatic birth Hawaiki stopped breathing and was revived by the medical team.

He was then rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit to undergo an immediate blood transfusion due to bleeding from the head and six days later, an MRI revealed he had serious brain damage.  

Hawaiki (pictured) has significant developmental delays, which his family believe was caused by a lack of oxygen

Hawaiki (pictured) has significant developmental delays, which his family believe was caused by a lack of oxygen

Ms Ngaheu said her son requires 24/7 care, including hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, occupational, and speech therapy.

‘He’s now 18-months-old and can’t walk, can’t talk, and his development is extremely delayed,’ Jess said.

‘He’s on a Bipap machine when he sleeps, so he requires 24/7 care and will require that for the rest of his life.’

Law firm Maurice Blackburn are representing Mr and Ms Ngaheu, who claim lack of oxygen – not head trauma – caused Hawaiki’s brain damage.

‘We are alleging that had Hawaiki been born via caesarean delivery and at an earlier time, he would have avoided his brain injury,’ said lawyer Kirsten Van Der Wal.

Ms Ngaheu (left) with her husband Merv (middle), 18-month-old son Hawaiki and daughter Vera-Rose

Ms Ngaheu (left) with her husband Merv (middle), 18-month-old son Hawaiki and daughter Vera-Rose

Ms Ngaheu believes if medical staff had listened to the couple, their son would not have sustained any brain damage. 

‘[I] want members of the medical profession to know what can happen if you don’t listen to your patients who know their bodies and their medical history,’ she said.

They are pursuing compensation to cover the impact of Hawaiki’s injuries and for the treatment they said he will require for the rest of his life.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Gold Coast University Hospital for comment. 

Hawaiki's parents say he will need care for the rest of his life to help manage disabilities caused by brain damage

Hawaiki’s parents say he will need care for the rest of his life to help manage disabilities caused by brain damage

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