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Parents Still Awaiting Apology From Hospital Trust Six Months After Inquest Found Boy’s Death Could Have Been Avoided

Eight-Year-Old Callum Cartlidge Died After Being Sent Home Without Life-Saving Blood Test

06.11.2018

Andrew Hewitt, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

The grieving parents of a boy who died after being sent home from hospital without a life-saving blood test have called on a NHS Trust to apologise for his death.

Callum Cartlidge died aged eight in March 2017 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home in Redditch. Hours earlier he had been discharged from Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Following his death Callum’s parents, Stacey and Aidy, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care given by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

A subsequent Inquest in May concluded that Callum would have survived if a blood test, which would have diagnosed his rare illness, had been undertaken the day before his death. 

Expert Opinion
“Following Callum’s tragic death thorough investigations were carried out to establish the circumstances as to how he died. A Coroner subsequently ruled Callum’s death was avoidable.

“However, Stacey and Aidy are distraught that no-one at the Trust has ever apologised for the death of their boy. This continues to be the case six months after the Inquest. We are still waiting to receive the Trust’s formal Response.

“Nothing can ever make up for Callum’s death but his family would like to try and move on with their lives the best they can. An apology would provide them with some kind of closure.

“Following the Inquest Callum’s family said they hoped that the Hospital Trust would learn lessons from his death so others did not have to experience the anguish they have."
Caroline Brogan, Solicitor

In a statement Stacey, aged 34, and Aidy aged 38, said: “The day Callum died our family changed forever. Callum was such a fun, infectious boy who was loved by everyone. He had his whole life ahead of him

“We are upset at the Hospital Trust and the stance it has taken throughout this. Six months after the Inquest we feel it is still trying to avoid the issue of Callum’s death.

“All we have ever wanted is to fully establish why Callum died and what measures have been taken so other families don’t have to live with the hurt and pain that we continue to experience.

“An apology won’t bring Callum back but at least if the Trust said sorry and said what is being done to help patients, our family may be able to try and move on.” 

Meanwhile an NHS lobbying group has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock asking him to meet members as well as Stacey and Aidy to discuss services at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

The Save the Alex group says it is worried that it has not seen “any tangible sign that improvements at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trusts” since former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt raised concerns about Worcester Royal Hospital in January 2017.

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Background

Callum had visited his GP on 28 February, 2017, when following examination he was diagnosed with tonsillitis and stomach ache.

However, he continued to feel unwell and so his family revisited the surgery on 2 March. Callum’s blood sugar levels were low so he was taken by ambulance to Worcestershire Royal Hospital but was discharged at about 11pm.

The following afternoon he suffered a cardiac arrest at home. Callum was taken back to Worcestershire Royal but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

A post-mortem examination found he died from Addisonian Crisis. The life-threatening illness develops when Addison’s disease – which is caused by the body not producing enough cortisol – goes untreated.

An Inquest earlier this year heard from an expert medical consultant who said, that in his opinion, Callum would have survived if a blood test had been carried out, identifying his rare disease, less than 24 hours before his death. A nurse also accepted that she should have completed a fluid balance chart but failed to do so. As a result of this the NHS Trust now audits these charts.

Callum also leaves behind a twin brother, a sister and a little brother.