Hospital Admits Child Death Errors

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Has Admitted Responsibility For A Child's Death

06.06.2014

Directors at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital have apologised for failings that led to the death of a four-year-old boy in October 2011.

Jennifer Blockley, 29, arrived at the hospital when her son Oliver began to exhibit symptoms related to viral gastroenteritis - a common disease that affects the digestive tract and is sometimes seen in people with compromised immune systems.

While this is a relatively routine illness to treat, the Buckinghamshire Herald reports a "catalogue of errors" by hospital staff - including the failure to prescribe adequate medication and check fluid levels - led him to deteriorate.

A short period of time after being admitted to the hospital the boy went into septic shock, resulting in a cardiac arrest and then death.

The boy's mother said: "I feel that it's every parent’s right to know that the main hospital in their area has had major failings in care for a child who, if treated correctly, had a 95 per cent chance of survival from the infection.

"Even when I questioned the care at the time I was told that it was just a tummy bug and that it would be fine."

The trust's management has now written a formal apology to the boy's family and admitted 28 counts of clinical negligence.

However, Ms Blockley was particularly cross that the letterhead on the apology said "safe and compassionate care every time", something she did not think was appropriate given the circumstances involved.

Anne Eden, chief executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, repeated her apology when approached for comment by the Buckinghamshire Herald, adding that every effort will be made to ensure all investigations related to the incident are as transparent as possible.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust was placed into special measures in 2013 after a review found a number of patient safety issues that needed to be resolved in order to reduce death rates.

Expert Opinion
This is a deeply saddening case and is another awful example of the terrible consequences which can emerge as a result of failings in care and treatment.

"Sadly this is similar to many cases in which we are involved, with many based around seeking answers and justice for families who have lost loved ones as a result of problems which should have been avoided.

"It is always vital that patient comes first in the NHS and, if any good can come from a tragic case of this nature, it is that lessons are learned which will prevent people from suffering in the same manner in the future."
Julie Lewis, Partner