Baby girl is left permanently brain damaged after she was given poison instead of oxygen in medical blunder

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The parents of a little girl who was given nitrous oxide instead of oxygen moments after she was born - causing permanent brain damage - have broken their silence on the horrific bungle that 'ruined their lives'.

Amelia Khan was inadvertently poisoned at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital in June 2016 after a subcontractor mixed up two gas pipelines in the delivery ward.

When hospital staff thought they were providing Amelia oxygen, she was actually being pumped full of laughing gas from a port which had been incorrectly labelled.

A month later, another newborn, John Ghanem died at the same hospital after being given the deadly gas instead of oxygen.   


For the first time, Amelia's parents Benish and Danial Khan have opened up on the mix-up that changed the course of their lives.

'You would never for a second think that in a country like Australia, something like this can happen,' Amelia's mother Benish Khan told 60 Minutes on Sunday night.


'I am angry about this. And you know what? You really have ruined our lives.'

Amelia suffered critical and irreparable brain damage following the incident.

Sydney's Downing Centre District Court last month heard she would likely develop life-long quadriplegic cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities, was unlikely to develop speech and would be reliant on others for all aspects of her care.


The couple shared haunting video of the moments immediately after Amelia's birth, which should have documented the happiest time of their lives.

Instead, it now serves as a painful reminder of what happened to their little girl.

The footage, which was shared with 60 Minutes, shows the moment doctors placed the mask over a healthy Amelia's tiny little mouth to assist her breathing.

'To this day, I remember in that theatre listening to her cries in between,' Ms Kahn said. 'Listening to them take that mask off for that couple of seconds, hearing her squealing, just not the sound that a baby makes… it was the sound that a baby makes in pain.


'It is just something that haunts you forever.'

The Caesarean birth went well, but the medical team decided to give Amelia a small amount of oxygen to assist her breathing, not yet realising a subcontractor had actually mislabelled the gas line.

Amelia immediately began suffocating, and the footage shows the moment doctors realised her condition was deteriorating, while Mr Khan tried to comfort his wife.

The subcontractor who made the error appeared in court charged with serious workplace health and safety breaches. He pleaded guilty and was handed a $100,000 fine.

'The extent of the harm caused is almost too awful to contemplate,' Judge David Russell said when determining the ruling.

In addition to little Amelia's lifelong sentence, newborn John Ghanem died in the same birthing theatre under similar circumstances just one month later.

'I cannot think of a more tragic case. John Ghanem lost his life and his parents will live with their grief forever,' Judge Russell said.

'Amelia Khan has been condemned to a terrible existence. Her parents will have to provide care and assistance to Amelia and deal with their own grief.'

Despite the tragic circumstances, the young first-time parents said they have 'accepted' what happened to Amelia.

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