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Hospital 'missed opportunity' to save abused baby Isabelle from severe injuries

Catastrophic injuries inflicted on a five-week-old girl by her parents could have been prevented if signs of earlier abuse, including fractured ribs, had been spotted, a report has said.

Baby Isabelle may never regain her sight, will be wheelchair-bound and will have to be fed through a tube for the rest of her life after suffering at the hands of father Rocky Uzzell and mother Katherine Prigmore, of Kettering.

A report from the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board said Isabelle - referred to as Child N - was taken to hospital six times during a five-week period between her birth and March 20 2014, when her parents were arrested.

They called 999 on March 12, reporting that their daughter was unresponsive, had vacant eyes and was limp and floppy.

Isabelle needed treatment on a high dependency unit and stayed there for two days.

X-rays were taken and she was eventually discharged with antibiotics for a "presumed chest infection", the report said.

But two rib fractures were not spotted on the X-ray film.

The report said: "There was a missed opportunity during this admission to identify non-accidental injury.

"If the rib fractures had been identified at that point, it is likely that the subsequent serious injuries to Child N could have been prevented by removing her from her parents' care."

The idea that Isabelle's injuries - including bruising to her leg - were inflicted on purpose was not fully considered, the report found.

It said: "In this case there were two occasions where a very vulnerable young and immobile infant presented with symptoms that were not adequately explained at the time.

"In retrospect, it is very likely that both these presentations were directly linked to abuse, but any suspicion of non-accidental injury was lost at an early stage."

The report concluded it was possible that Uzzell and Prigmore's difficulties in caring for their daughter "could have been predicted", but added there were suggestions that they were coping with the stress of a newborn and were "devoted" to her.

Both parents were jailed at Northampton Crown Court in December for causing or allowing a child to suffer serious harm, and it was claimed that both defendants seemed to care more about a trip to Nando's than the welfare of their daughter during a hospital visit.

Jailing Uzzell, 29, for six years, Judge Rupert Mayo said: "The harm was deliberate and inexcusable.

"Isabelle has limited life expectancy and will lead a life dependent on the care of others. She was injured on more than one occasion by you."

Adding an extended sentence of two-and-a-half-years, the judge added that Uzzell had a "warped view" of what it was to be a parent or carer.

Handing down a 28-month jail term to Prigmore, 24, the judge said: "Your priority should have been Isabelle. It was not - it was you and your needs."

Kettering General Hospital's Director of Nursing and Quality, Leanne Hackshall, said: "The Trust has been fully involved in the very detailed investigation into the health care and support that Child N received during the early weeks of her life and we profoundly regret the missed opportunities to escalate safeguarding concerns that have been identified by the investigation into this case."

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