Lowestoft carbon monoxide poisoning settlement

A pregnant Lowestoft woman who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty boiler has received a �2,500 out of court settlement.

Sarah Hitcham was seven months pregnant when she had to go the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and under go gruelling oxygen treatment in its hyperbaric chamber.

Ms Hitcham, 42, had gone to the hospital after she felt faint and sick in her Oxford Road home the day after her boiler was inspected.

As she was being treated in the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning, her only thought was for the health of her unborn child.

Fortunately less than three months after being poisoned Ms Hitcham gave birth to a healthy son, Caleb who weighed 8lbs and 6oz.

But Ms Hitcham faces several years of anxiety over her son's future as she waits to see if he has been affected by carbon monoxide while he was in his mother's womb.

Yesterday Ms Hitcham recalled her ordeal from last November after she recieved �2,500 compensation from the insurers of Zips Plumbing and Heating of Beccles

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An engineer from Zip's had inspected and issued a gas safety certifcate during an annual inspection for landlord Balmforths Property Services of Lowestoft.

Within a day of the inspection Ms Hitcham, her partner Luke Hughes and her 16-year-old daughter Chloe Lake started to feel sick and faint.

The family called out an emergency engineer who confirmed the presence of carbon monoxide because of leaking fumes from the bolier.

Because of Ms Hitcham's condition she decided to go to the accident and emergency department of the JPH where a blood test confirmed she had high levels of carbon monoxide.

She had to endure three oyxgen sessions in the space of a day at the hospital to bring the levels down.

She said: 'I was constantly worried about Caleb and what might happen to him.

'The doctors say Caleb is doing well and I am thrilled to have my little boy. But it will be several years before we really know if the fumes affected him.

'That is a long time to worry about something that could and should have been avoided.

'I go cold just thinking what could have happened to us and all because of a boiler that was not serviced properly.'

After the poisoning Zips Plumbing and Hunting reinspected and certified the boiler again but there was another leak leading to it being switched off over Christmas.

Balmforths Property Services brought in a new company to repair and then certify the boiler.

Manchester law firm Pannone LLP represented Ms Hitcham for the out of court settlement in which Zip's Plumbing and Heating's insurers Royal and Sun Alliance admitted liability.

Solicitor Madelene Holdsworth said: 'This gas is a killer and safety is paramount.

'Sarah Hitcham could have been killed through no fault of her own.'

When contacted by the EDP Zips Plumbing and Heating based at Dorothy Hodgkin Court refused to comment.