Dad Catches the Moment His Newborn Was Accidentally Poisoned at the Hospital

Dad Catches the Moment His Newborn Was Accidentally Poisoned at the Hospital

Two parents from Australia are finally speaking out after a June 2016 hospital mix-up left their daughter with severe brain damage. Danial and Benish Khan's daughter, Amelia, was reportedly born perfectly healthy after a C-section delivery at the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital in Sydney. But by chance, Danial managed to capture the exact moment that doctors gave Amelia a tube flowing with that they thought was oxygen. But it turns out that the newborn wasn't given oxygen, but instead nitrous oxide -- a gas that is poisonous and gave her permanent brain damage.

Danial just happened to have his camera out right after Amelia was born.

In June 2016, Benish Khan went to Bankstown Lidcombe hospital to give birth to her first child. The operation to deliver the baby was problem-free, but to help with her first breaths, Amelia was given what doctors thought to be oxygen. #60Mins

— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) June 7, 2020

According to the New Zealand Herald, the parents spoke with 60 Minutes Australia and explained that after Amelia was delivered, her doctors decided she needed some oxygen to help her with her first few breaths, which is why they reached for an oxygen tube.

But it quickly became clear that something was wrong. Amelia wasn't taking to the gas.

Five years ago, an upgrade at Bankstown hospital meant new medical gas lines needed to be installed. There was a mix-up in theatre eight though and nitrous oxide was attached to the oxygen outlet. #60Mins

— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) June 7, 2020

She started to suffocate and her doctors and nurses started to panic, trying to figure out what went wrong. Meanwhile, Danial's camera was still running. He caught the whole chaotic moment on video and can be seen trying to calm his wife while his daughter let out horrifying screams.

"To this day, I remember that [operating theater], listening to her cries, the guessing, listening to them take that mask off for that couple of seconds, hearing her squealing, just not the sound that a baby makes," the dad told 60 Minutes. "It's just something that haunts you forever."

The parents got lucky. Amelia survived the ordeal.

The man at fault was Christopher Turner, a contractor who was paid to install the gas pipes in 2015. When he finished the job, he lied on official paperwork, claiming he’d tested the oxygen outlets when he hadn’t. #60Mins

— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) June 7, 2020

But she was far from OK. The newborn was permanently brain-damaged.

"They were just like: 'More than 50% of her brain is damaged and she will most likely not be able to move. She won't be able to eat. She won't even be able to come off life support without her passing away,'" the dad recalled.

Her parents then made the hard decision to take Amelia off of life support.

It was heartbreaking, they had to say goodbye to the little girl they just met.

"I've never buried anybody that's close to me and my family. I've never experienced that," Danial explained. "So for me, in my mind, I was like, 'Wow, the first person I'm going to bury is my own daughter.' I've never imagined that."

But in a miraculous turn of events, she survived.

It took a month, but the Khans eventually learned what caused Amelia's problems when the hospital asked them to an emergency meeting and informed them that another newborn baby -- John Ghanem -- had died after being given nitrous oxide instead of oxygen in the same operating room where Amelia was born.

The mix-up was allegedly the result of a careless contractor. In 2015, the tube to the nitrous oxide was connect to the gas line marked "oxygen" by Christopher Turner, who was eventually convicted in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court in May 2020 over the error. He ultimately faced $105,000 in fines after being found to have failed to carry out cross-connection tests and oxygen concentration tests and signed off that he performed safety checks that he never did.

Amelia just happened to be unlucky.

Thirty-four babies passed through the operating theater without incident -- but not the Khans little girl, who is now 4 years old and will be a lifelong quadriplegic with cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities. It is unlikely that she will ever speak and will need care for the rest of her life.

"You would never for a second think that in a country like Australia, something like this can happen," Benish told The Sydney Herald Times. "I am angry about this."

The parents are hoping that by going public with their story, they are hoping to change Australian law so that there will be a mandatory licensing program for medical gas. Australian minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson told the newspaper that the law will require "installers to be licensed specifically for installation of medical gas." he said.

And a bill presented by the Labor MLC Mark Buttigieg was introduced into Australian parliament last week.

"To have such a yawning gap in the system, whereby something as critical as medical gas, which can affect the birth of the child, unregulated, unlicensed, beggars belief," he said of the move. It's more likely, according to The Herald, that the law will not pass but instead changes will be made through existing legislation.

Hopefully, the new changes in policy will be some sort of relief to the Khans, who are just happy that they have their daughter alive and with them.

"We've accepted what happened to Amelia," Danial told 60 Minutes. "And I can't imagine Amelia in any other way. She's funny, she's strong, she's resilient."

"And for us it's about living in the moment," his wife continued. "Appreciating what we have right now and just enjoying that because we know that things could be taken away from us."