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Pott Row woman whose baby was starved of oxygen at birth stalled whilst suing hospital due to 'lost' records

The mother of a five-year-old who was starved of oxygen for seven minutes at birth due to faulty resuscitation apparatus is in the process of suing the NHS.

Caroline Kendle,36, of Pott Row, is mother to James Kendle, who is autistic, non-verbal and lives with genetic condition congenital myotonic dystrophy.

Mrs Kendle, who works for West Norfolk Council, was left "traumatised" by her son's botched birth, and seeking answers from the NHS.

During the latter stages of her pregnancy in 2015 Mrs Kendle was transferred to two different hospitals for the birth as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn was at full capacity.

Initially she was sent to Chelmsford and then to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

When baby James needed to be resuscitated Mrs Kendle claims she heard a member of staff say "Who the hell signed this equipment off as fit for use?", it was then a full seven minutes before a new device was located and James was given live saving treatment.

As a result of the lack of oxygen, which can have devastating consequences such as cerebral palsy, James now has sight problems and nystagmus.

Nystagmus is an involuntary rhythmic side-to-side, up and down or circular motion of the eyes that occurs with a variety of conditions.

Mrs Kendle said: "James was then taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where he was put on a ventilator.

"He was on there for two weeks and then a miracle happened, he was breathing on his own. The consultant said in all her time in medicine she’s only seen three children born in similar circumstances and he’s the only one that has survived, I feel lucky every day.

"We had wonderful treatment at that hospital and I can say the same for the department James sees now at the QEH."

However, problems arose when Mrs Kendle attempted to get hold of her antenatal notes.

She said: "I feel so sad and disheartened by it all, they say they have 'lost' my notes, which seems a little too much of a coincidence.

"My initial antenatal notes are there, but the six months following that I need to proceed to get compensation seem to be conveniently lost.

"I've tried all three hospitals that dealt with me and none of them have anything, it just seems odd. Looking after James has impacted my finacnes heavily and compensation would go a long way.

"Not to mention I was never offered a screening for CMD which I informed the QEH that I had, then I would have known what to expect and the birth could have been treated differently."

Congenital myotonic dystrophy is similar to muscular dystrophy except it affects the internal organs.

In medical terms CMD is an autosomal dominant neuromuscular disorder with multisystem involvement.

It can cause autism, ADHD, psychiatric disorders, vision problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, cardiac and endocrine complications.

Daily life with James isn't easy for his parents who have to dedicate much of their time to round the clock care, as he doesn't eat solid food.

The rods in his eyes aren't connected properly, which means he is partially blind.

This is something his parents feel is down to the lack of oxygen at birth.

Mrs Kendle said: "Me and my husband can't go out anywhere and it impacts our ability to work, I have CMD myself, but James' condition is much more severe."

James needs to go to a specialist school for his education and finding childcare has been an issue for the Kendles.

She said: "No one wants to look after James, which is understandable as it's so risky, it means me and my partner can't even do simple things like go on a date night or out to the shops without him, it's a full-time job and yes it's exhausting.

"I want people to know what it's like and be aware of what everyday life is like with James - the hospital just doesn't seem to care."

The Lynn News reached out to the QEH and James Paget Hospital for comment.

A spokesperson for James Paget said: "We can not comment on individual cases."

Karen McGuire, Deputy Chief Nurse at QEH commented : “This is a sad case which has regrettably had a devasting and lasting impact on the family. QEH is fully co-operating with any requests for information and are available to answer any questions which the family or their representatives may have”.

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