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NHS Trust said lessons have been learnt after death of Tiverton toddler
HEALTH bosses have said lessons have been learnt after the High Court found an NHS Trust liable for the death of a toddler.
An inquest into Joe’s death ordered the RD&E Foundation Trust to look into its criteria for discharging sick children after it was revealed he was sent home without having had a chest x-ray or blood tests.
He died the next day and a post mortem showed he had a strain of pneumonia.
The High Court recently made an order holding the Trust responsible for Joe’s death after they admitted liability.
A statement released on Monday from Joe’s parents, Brian and Polly, said their son’s death had left the family “broken and devastated”.
“Following his death we were disappointed by the lack of support we received from the RD&E and the difficulty we have had getting answers,” the statement said.
“We hope no other family has to go through the pain we continue to live with every day.”
In response, RD&E medical director Vaughan Lewis said: “We’d like to take the opportunity to extend our sympathy and respect to the family, and assure them that we’ve learned from this tragedy.
“In the emergency department here at the RD&E we see more than 20,000 children every year.
“The majority of children who present with respiratory illnesses don’t need to be admitted and will make a full recovery at home, and incidents such as this case involving Joe and his family are extremely rare.
“Following referral to the RD&E, Joe was seen by a paediatric senior house officer and then a paediatric specialist registrar in the emergency department.
“A history was taken, and observations and an examination were performed.
“Based on these assessments, a diagnosis of a viral lower respiratory tract infection, or bronchiolitis, was made.
“It wasn’t thought necessary to admit Joe, and his parents were advised about the steps to take if his symptoms persisted.
“This was clearly the wrong decision, and Joe should have been admitted to the ward and been treated with antibiotics.
“This was accepted in the Trust’s response to the allegations during the legal process.
“We made every effort to keep the McCurry family closely involved in the subsequent multi-agency investigation, which was conducted by the lead nurse for children.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lack of community provision of bereavement services, which the family would undoubtedly have benefited from during this very difficult time.
“We’ve updated the guidelines provided to front line staff to manage the assessment of paediatric cases.
“A number of other recommendations were made as part of the investigation and all these have now been completed.
“We’ve also used the lessons learnt from this tragic case to educate our staff.”