Helen Rutherford appears at baby death Inquest

November 10, 2021

Helen Rutherford from Exchange Chambers has represented the parents of Mohammed Ruhaan at the inquest into his death.

Mohammed Ruhaan was born on 17 November 2019 after 24 weeks and five days and survived only four days.

A Rochdale inquest heard how the tragedy may have been avoided if an umbilical venous catheter carrying vital fluids into his body had not damaged his liver causing bleeding into his abdomen and ultimately his death.

If the misplaced tube had been replaced earlier Mohammed would not have died when he did, the hearing concluded.

The guidelines in place at the time said that where the catheter was malpositioned it should be addressed at the earliest opportunity, taken to be no more than 24 hours after its insertion.

By the time Mohammed’s condition deteriorated at 6pm on November 20, 2019, the catheter had been in for 66 hours.

Senior coroner for North Manchester Joanne Kearsley was told that the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, had admitted a series of failings in the care of Mohammed, and have changed their procedures as a result.

There was no evidence that there was any positive attempt to gain alternative access until the time of his deterioration. The handover from team to team was inadequate, particularly in terms of ensuring awareness of the suboptimal placement of the UVC.

She ultimately concluded that Mohammed would not have died at that time or in that way were it not for the suboptimal placement of the UVC.

She also praised the dignity with which Mohammed’s father Ommar Ahmed and Shabana Kousar, both 34, had behaved during the hearing.

Ms Kearsley said:

“You’ve waited a long time, it’s nearly two years, but as parents, I can’t imagine how difficult it is waiting for a process.

“I thank you for your patience and understanding and the way that you’ve conducted yourselves in court today. It must’ve been very difficult to listen to some of the evidence.”

Helen Rutherford was instructed by Slater and Gordon.