Baby Sanika Ahmed’s arm surgery legal fight over


A baby girl who was refused NHS surgery to save the use of her arm because of her parents’ immigration status has had the operation, their solicitor said.

Sanika Ahmed, from Southsea, Hampshire, has Erb’s palsy and needed surgery on her arm by the age of nine months.

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Middlesex initially refused because her Bangladeshi-born parents did not have the right to live in the UK.

The family now has a six week wait to see if the operation was successful.

Sanika was born in Portsmouth in July with nerve damage caused by birth trauma to her shoulders.

‘Very sad’
Her father Muhammad Ahmed, from Bangladesh, worked legally in the UK from July 2008 to August 2009, but stayed illegally after his work permit expired. The family has since applied for permission to stay.

After Sanika’s birth, the Ahmed’s were told NHS rules on overseas patients meant the hospital could only offer the operation if the family paid for it. But the family said they could not afford to pay.

Mr Ahmed and his wife Syeda engaged law firm Swain and Co. Solicitors to seek a judicial review but the hospital changed its stance and agreed to carry out the operation on 22 April before the review took place.

“Before Sanika’s operation took place I was very sad and very tense and apprehensive but when I got the appointment I started to hope something good was going to come out of this and feel it has,” Mrs Ahmed said.

The age limit for an effective nerve graft is not universally agreed but Jackie Dewdney, trustee of charity the Erb’s Palsy Group, said: “Nine months is generally seen as the cut-off point.”

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital said it could not comment on individual cases.


BBC © 2013

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