Waikato DHB asked to apologise to family of baby who died in its care

The Health and Disability Commissioner has today released a report which finds the Waikato DHB in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights over the care provided to a new born baby who died while in its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Baby Source:

According to the report, the baby was born with perinatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) in 2017 and was admitted to NICU at Waikato DHB.

"Treatment for HIE was commenced, but on day four the baby developed neonatal sepsis. Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she subsequently died from an overwhelming infection," the report states.

"Mr Hill [Commissioner Anthony Hill] was critical of staffing levels overnight in the NICU, and considered that the DHB staff involved showed a lack of critical thinking.

"Mr Hill found that staff delayed commencing aEEG monitoring, failed to undertake an adequate assessment of the baby as she began to deteriorate which delayed antibiotic treatment, and did not document adequate medical records.

"As a consequence, treatment for both of the baby’s conditions was delayed."

In the report it's recommended Waikato DHB introduce an education programme for all NICU staff about the signs of possible infection, and about handover and documentation, and that they provide a formal apology to the whānau of the baby.

The full report is available on the HDC website.