Mother told baby was dead after hospital mix-up

Armley mum Emma Carr with her seven-month-old daughter Laila-Faye Crossley. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Armley mum Emma Carr with her seven-month-old daughter Laila-Faye Crossley. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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A Leeds mum was told by bungling hospital staff that her baby daughter had been registered as dead – as she attended hospital with the seven-month-old for a pre-booked appointment.

Emma Carr, who lives in Armley, was left enraged by the error that was highlighted when she took her seven-month-old daughter Laila-Faye Crossley for an appointment with a specialist at Leeds General Infirmary on May 29 to be told it was cancelled as the tot was listed as dead.

The 22-year-old claims she took the toddler to the hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat department over a larynx problem that had been causing her difficulty breathing when staff explained the mistake. She has lodged a complaint.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised to the mother-of-two, explaining that a member of admin staff from the oncology department that deals with cancer patients made the error and no longer works for the trust.

But Miss Carr has been left distraught by the incident and has called for a review of hospital procedures.

She said: “They suggested it might be to do with somebody having a similar name but that’s not an excuse – everyone’s got their own NHS numbers.

“I had to ring the council to make sure she didn’t have a death certificate.”

When Miss Carr then asked the department’s reception staff what had happened she was told a clerical error had cancelled her daughter’s appointment and registered her as dead.

The full-time mum-of-two received an apology from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, explaining that a member of admin staff from the oncology department which deals with cancer patients had made the error and now no longer works for the trust.

But Miss Carr is determined to name and shame those responsible in a bid to ensure this never happens again.

“She said your daughter’s been registered as dead and that’s why it was cancelled,” she said. “They suggested it might be to do with somebody having a similar name but that’s not an excuse – everyone’s got their own NHS numbers.

“I had to ring the council to make sure she didn’t have a death certificate.”

Laila-Faye has since had a minor operation but her mum, 22, is keen to highlight LGI’s mistake and has called for a review.

A spokesman for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said the error was made by a clerical member of staff who mistakenly altered the record, and the staff member in question no longer works at the trust.

He added: “We are extremely sorry this error occurred, and fully understand how distressing this whole matter has been for Miss Carr.”

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