A hospital in South Wales has been criticised by the parents of a baby who died just 40 days after he was born.
Hunter Lee was delivered at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital on October 23rd last year. Clinicians at the facility's special baby care unit looked after the infant for nearly three weeks, as he was suffering from reflux problems, before allowing him to be sent home, WalesOnline reports.
However, four days after being discharged, Hunter fell ill and was found to be suffering from a severe coarctation of the aorta and a weakness in one of the valves of his heart.
The baby was sent to the Royal Children's Hospital in Bristol for treatment at its intensive care unit, but after undergoing an operation and being sent home, he developed bronchiolitis.
His lungs eventually collapsed and he underwent a heart and lung bypass. This was ultimately unsuccessful, with Hunter suffering from a cardiac arrest that led to extensive brain damage.
Hunter's parents Carly and Martin, who live in Clydach Vale, eventually opted to switch his life support machine off and the child died on December 1st last year.
Family Holds Hospital Responsible
The Lee family believe their baby might not have died had doctors at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital identified his heart problem while he was being cared for at the special baby care unit, rather than decide to discharge him after 18 days.
"They severely neglected his condition and his human rights," Mrs Lee commented. "He was born with this heart problem - it wasn't something he developed."
An official complaint has now been lodged with Cwm Taf Health Board, which has insisted it will be carrying out an internal investigation into how Hunter was cared for by clinicians at the hospital. "We take every complaint seriously, but we cannot comment on individual cases," a spokesman said.
Mrs Lee admitted she is finding it hard to come to terms with the death of her son, but praised Hunter for fighting "so hard for so long".
She stated that her baby continued to fight until "his body simply couldn't take any more", but said he "gave us hope when we had none".
"He brought families together and taught lessons that needed to be learnt," she commented.
The Lee family are now aiming to honour Hunter's memory by establishing a charity that will raise money for Bristol Children's Hospital, which is to be called Hope for Hunter and will support other families who have lost a child.
Mrs Lee went on to reveal she is not sure how her family coped as they were forced to travel between Wales, Bristol and Leicester while Hunter underwent treatment.
She added that she still has to be a mother to Hunter's identical twin Carson and her four-year-old daughter Madison, whom she described as "a fragment of the child she used to be".
An inquest into Hunter's death at an as-yet unspecified date is to be held at Aberdare Coroner's Court.
By Francesca Witney