A GRANDMOTHER has lodged an official complaint with a hospital who she believes missed several chances to spot her grandson’s life-threatening heart condition.

Vincent Hetherington was born on July 19 at Burnley General Hospital, with new mum Abigail being told by doctors, who carried out multiple scans during pregnancy, that he was a healthy baby.

However, at eight weeks old he was diagnosed with two holes in the heart and will now have to undergo open heart surgery at Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool.

Distraught grandmother, Christina Hetherington, says she and her daughter, 19, were devastated to learn of the news.

She said Burnley General Hospital were negligent as the defects should have been detected during multiple ante-natal scans.

They also feel GPs and health workers failed to act after they raised concerns about Vincent’s breathing and feeding in the first few weeks of his life.

Mrs Hetherington, 38, said: “We are extremely upset and traumatised at this sudden shock and are struggling to understand why this has not been detected during Abigail’s pregnancy, given the fact that she had multiple foetal medicine 4D scans to look for any kind of abnormalities.

“The reason for these extra scans is because Abigail’s brother John – my son – has a genetic disorder (Cornelia De Lange Syndrome) and while scanning to see if Vincent had the same disorder, we feel the heart defects should have been detected.

“This would have prepared Abigail and the rest of our family both mentally and emotionally before he was even born.

“Instead we are now suffering absolute shock and upset when we had been reassured by Burnley General that we had a perfectly healthy baby.

“I understand mistakes can sometimes be made but when multiple people on numerous occasions have been looking for abnormalities and have had chance to pick up on this, we feel that this is complete negligence.”

Mrs Hetherington said that other opportunities to pick up on the problem were also missed, particularly at the birth suite, and also when the paediatric doctor did the final check on him before he was discharged from hospital.

She said Vincent had been having feeding problems since birth, and had been seen multiple times by GPs and paediatric nurses who checked him and told them all was normal.

Miss Hetherington also flagged up his fast breathing to a health visitor who she says ignored her concern and didn’t even listen to Vincent’s heart. Mrs Hetherington, of Accrington, added: “Only when we took him to an out-of-hours appointment with an advanced nurse at St Peter’s Centre in Burnley on September 9, because he had a tummy bug, did she express concerns about his fast breathing.

“He was taken by ambulance to Royal Blackburn Hospital where we were told he had a hole in his heart.

“He was then transferred to Alder Hey, who confirmed that he had not only one, but two defects of his heart.

“I’m also expecting a baby and being looked after by the same department and having the same foetal medicine scans.

“We have lost complete faith in the NHS system and feel we cannot trust that we are in safe hands.

“The whole purpose of going to hospital and having checks is to feel safe in the knowledge that these specialists know what they are doing and to feel reassured that when we are told our unborn babies are absolutely fine that this is correct information.”

Vincent will be monitored until October 21, when the family see a specialist at Alder Hey. If he has gained enough weight they will arrange his surgery.

Acting chief executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Prof Damian Riley, said: “We respect our patients’ right to confidentiality and are unable to comment on individual cases.

“However, we are happy to liaise directly with the family regarding their concerns.

“We would urge the family to make contact with our customer relations team. This will enable us to investigate, and discuss concerns, answering any questions they may have.”