THE surgeon who fought in vain to try to save the life of a Coventry toddler who suffered a massive brain injury has rejected the explanation he was given by the boy’s mother.
A jury heard two-year-old Khaleel Hussain was rushed to University Hospital in Coventry after his mother Samina Kauser had made a 999 call at lunchtime on October 21, 2013.
Because of the severity of his injury he was swiftly transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where consultant neurosurgeon Desiderio Rodrigues carried out emergency surgery.
But the injury was so severe that Khaleel had little chance of surviving – and he died the following day.
It is alleged Khaleel’s fatal injury had been caused by Kauser’s boyfriend Keith Brown, probably by shaking him forcibly and throwing him down onto a soft surface, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC has told the jury.
Brown (23) of Swan Lane, Stoke, Coventry, has pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the murder of the toddler.
And Kauser (25) of Richmond Street, Stoke, Coventry, has denied allowing the death of a child by failing to take such steps as she could reasonably have been expected to take to protect him.
Giving evidence, Mr Rodrigues said: “After the operation I informed her (Kauser) that this child was most likely not going to survive.
“I asked if she could let me know how he came to suffer the injury.
“She said she had woken up and that Khaleel had woken up at about the same time, and she had asked him to go upstairs to get his clothes.
“While she was in the bathroom she heard some noise outside and saw Khaleel on the floor face down.
“She lifted him up and put him on a couch and he vomited, and she called 999.”
Mr Hankin clarified: “She was saying that although she had not seen it, she had heard a sound and found him at the foot of the stairs.”
Mr Rodrigues said: “It did not look like a fall down the stairs would have caused such a serious swelling to the brain.”
And he explained: “A serious swelling and a subdural haematoma can be caused by significant impact to the head or shaken baby syndrome.”
He said such a serious injury would require ‘a fall from quite a significant height’ with external injuries too, which he said he did not notice.
Mr Rodrigues also observed: “Throughout my teaching if a child falls from a stair, the first landing is within the first four steps, which would not cause such serious injury.
“It would have to be a fall from a very big height straight onto the head. This child was just under three, so I would say a height of a few metres.”
The jury has heard that Brown had initially told the police that Khaleel had fallen down the stairs before saying he had dropped him while they were playing.
Mr Hankin pointed out that 14 months later he changed his account again and said that while throwing the toddler ‘almost to the ceiling,’ he got it wrong and he hit the floor head-first.
But Mr Rodrigues, whose surgery involved cutting part of Khaleel’s skull away to relieve the pressure on his brain, said: “In my opinion I think there was global injury to the brain. The whole brain was insulted, as opposed to a focal injury to the head.”
It has been alleged that Kauser had failed to protect Khaleel from serious injury at Brown’s hands by not leaving her son alone with him, despite an incident a week earlier when she found him smothering the boy’s face with a duvet.
The trial continues.