Family Instruct Irwin Mitchell To End 18-Month Wait For Answers
The family of a boy from Rotherham who died four days after being admitted to hospital with abdominal pains has spoken out following an inquest into his death.
Five-year-old Shay Martyn Turner was admitted to Rotherham General Hospital after he started to suffer with abdominal pain, inability to pass urine and vomiting on 30 March, 2018. He was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital the following day when his condition rapidly deteriorated. He tragically died on 3 April.
Following Shay’s death his parents, Martyn and Laura, both aged 29, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to represent them at an inquest.
The hearing at Doncaster Coroner’s Court was told how Shay was treated for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) with a secondary potential diagnosis of sepsis upon his admission to hospital, with his condition worsening overnight.
The hearing was told that it was revealed that a drug prescribing error led him to receive ten times the standard dose of insulin for one hour, with the junior doctor who administered it outlining how accident and emergency was very busy and also short staffed with it being Good Friday.
Following Shay’s death, police launched an investigation and Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust published a joint serious investigation report
It found there was “several opportunities to improve the delivery of safe care” that Shay, of Rawmarsh, received under Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust. An action plan has been produced “in order to deliver these improvements.”
Now, with the inquest concluding, Shay’s parents, Martyn and Laura, have spoken of how they are still trying to come to terms with his death.
Expert Opinion“Martyn, Laura and the rest of the family remain utterly devastated by their loss.
“For 18 months the family has had a number of concerns about the events that unfolded in the lead up to Shay’s death. The inquest and internal hospital investigation has identified worrying areas in the care Shay received.
“In particular the coroner found that there were delays in administering medication to treat Shay’s blood pressure and developing brain injury. The coroner also expressed concerns about the delay in obtaining test results.
“While nothing can ever make up for Shay’s death we are pleased that we have been able to establish answers to the family’s many questions.
“We will continue to support Martyn, Laura and the rest of Shay’s family to help them come to terms with their loss as best they can.
“It is also vital that lessons are learned from the care Shay received and staff uphold the new measures that the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust has pledged to introduce to improve patient care.” Tania Harrison - Partner
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The inquest also heard how Shay was eventually suspected of having fluid on the brain and a referral for intensive care was made via the Embrace team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. After stabilising, he was then transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital and a laparotomy was undertaken.
However, it revealed multi-organ failure and abdominal compartment syndrome and care was withdrawn on 3 April.
Laura, a marketing executive, said: “Shay was a truly incredible little boy and he lit up our lives every day. He was a happy, lively, fun-loving child and it still just doesn’t make sense that he is not here anymore. We miss him so much.
“The entire family is totally devastated that we will never get to see him grow up and that Shay will never get to fulfil his potential.
“Knowing that he will never get to celebrate milestones in life such as passing his exams and getting married, things most people take for granted, is heart breaking.
“It remains a struggle to carry on without him even now. Losing him is a like a nightmare that we will never wake up from. Shay’s death has left a major hole in our lives that will never disappear.
“The inquest has been an incredibly difficult time and very emotional for us all. However, it was something we had to do to honour Shay’s memory. We needed to find out the answers as to why Shay died.
“Whilst we are grateful to the coroner for the thorough investigation of Shay’s death, and appreciate that it must have been difficult for the coroner to conclude, given the complex medical evidence, we are disappointed of the overall outcome.
“It has left us feeling empty and lost. We welcome the proposed changes Rotherham Hospital are making to ensure no family ever has to go through this again. However, for us as a family this is too little too late. These multiple errors and failings happened to our little boy and we do not want him to be simply remembered as a mistake that has been learned from.
“Whilst the coroner has concluded that none of the failures identified contributed directly to Shay’s death, hearing about them in evidence has been incredibly distressing.
“I feel that these failures have resulted in us having to suffer the pain of having to wait several weeks to say goodbye to Shay and have his funeral, a 10 month police investigation and an inquest 17 months after his passing, all of which would not have been necessary had Rotherham Hospital not made these mistakes.
“Having to endure these investigations has made coming to terms with what happened to Shay more difficult and prolonged our grieving for Shay.
“While nothing will change what has happened, we just hope that the information revealed will ensure other families do not face the anguish and difficulties that we have had to endure.
“What we have been through is every parent’s nightmare and we would not wish this on anyone else.”
The joint investigation report by the hospital trusts found that Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust should take several ‘immediate actions’
These included a senior review and debrief of staff involved in Shay’s care, restrictions placed on staff involved in treating Shay and further training for them as well as a review of the Trust’s DKA policy to ensure it met national guidelines.
Coroner Nicola Mundy recorded a narrative conclusion.