Boy Left Brain Damaged After Surgery At University Hospital Of Wales

Boy Permanently Disabled After Being Starved Of Oxygen During Bowel Operation As Newborn

A mum has called for lessons to be learned after her son suffered brain damage when he was starved of oxygen during surgery as a newborn.

Llewie Pavis suffered a brain injury when he underwent surgery for a blocked bowel at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales when six-weeks-old.

Llewie, now four, has mobility problems and can fall over more than 20 times a day. He cannot speak and is predominantly fed through a tube. He has sight, sleep and behavioural problems. Llewie has been diagnosed with autism and requires anti-epilepsy medication.  

His mum Khloe, 27, of Usk, Monmouthshire, instructed expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate and help secure access to the specialist care and therapies Llewie is likely to require for the rest of his life. 

Khloe is now using Action for Brain Injury Week to speak of her concern for her son’s future and call for lessons to be learned. 

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, which runs University Hospital Wales, admitted liability for Llewie’s injuries.  It has also apologised to Khloe.

Expert Opinion

“Sadly through our work we see the catastrophic consequences of brain injuries involving newborns which leave children disabled for the rest of their lives.

“Llewie’s injury will have a profound impact on his and Khloe’s lives. We are now working

with the Health Board to ensure that Llewie can now access the specialist care and therapies that he will require to try and live as full and independent a life as possible.

“While nothing can make up for what has happened to Llewie, it’s vital that lessons are learned so others don’t have to experience the upset that Khloe and her family have.

“Action for Brain Injury Week is an important reminder of the help and support that’s available.” Sara Burns – Partner

Khloe gave birth to Llewie in March 2016. He was in a good condition and the couple were allowed home. However, aged two days, he was admitted to hospital after he started vomiting and had an enlarged stomach. 

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He was transferred to University Hospital of Wales and diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease – a blockage of the bowel that mainly affects babies and young children.

Llewie underwent surgery on 26 April under general anaesthetic. When he came round he started fitting and suffered more seizures during the night. 

Scans carried out over the next week showed he had suffered a brain injury. A drop in blood pressure during surgery caused him to be starved oxygen, the Health Board admitted. 

Llewie can’t feed himself. If not fed through a tube, he has problems chewing so has to be fed quarter teaspoon portions at a time as he is at risk of choking. 

He has no awareness of danger and has a short attention span. Llewie, who has a stoma fitted, has been admitted to hospital several times because of bowel infections and other illnesses.

Khloe had to give up her career on a fast-track management course with a major retailer to care for her son. 

Khloe said: “When Llewie woke up after surgery and started having a seizure I feared the worst. His head was floppy and I knew there was something seriously wrong. 

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“To be then told he had suffered brain damage confirmed my worst fears.  

“Llewie’s understanding of the world is different to that of a normal child. I always hoped that my child would grow up and graduate and get married but suddenly, as a result of Llewie’s injuries those things have been taken away from him. I’ll not have grand-children and I’ll not get to see Llewie learn about the world and interact and have the experiences with people that he should. 

“I worry about him in the future as I know he’ll always be reliant on people and whilst I want him to have everything from life I feel that will not be possible because of the extent of his injuries.  

“Despite everything he is the most amazing little boy and I’m blessed to have him in my life. While he may not have the same chances of other children he won’t be short of love. 

“I just hope that by speaking out lessons are learned and others don’t have to go through what we have.”

Action for Brain Injury Week runs from 28 September to 4 October and is organised by the charity Headway. 

Find out more about our expertise in supporting families following surgery failings at our medical negligence section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.

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