NHS misdiagnosis results in death of 6 month old baby

A six-month old baby died after a nhs misdiagnosis meant multiple opportunities to save him were missed.

The baby was treated by medical professionals for pneumonia at James Pagett University Hospital in Norfolk, instead of the heart condition that was causing his symptoms.

NHS misdiagnosis

Baby K was referred to the hospital after suffering weight loss following a bout of gastroenteritis. One week into a four week wait for an appointment with a dietician, Baby K was rushed to hospital after vomiting and becoming floppy. Staff at the hospital misdiagnosed the symptoms shown up in a chest x-ray, including fluid on his left lung, as possible sepsis and aspiration pneumonia.

A report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found the trust failed to:

  • Act on results of ECG and x-ray
  • Take the medical history of Baby K into account
  • Request input from specialist staff
  • Escalate the care of Baby K when it was clear his condition was getting worse

Rob Behrens, the Ombudsman said

“This tragic case shows how important it is that people speak up when mistakes are made.
It is crucial that the Trust learns from its failures to make sure they are not repeated.”

In response, the Chief Executive of James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Ann Hills, said

“As an organisation, we have reviewed how we handled this case, with the support and guidance of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

We have now implemented changes to ensure that, in the future, action is taken to ensure appropriate clinical escalation in similar situations and also that bereaved parents and relatives are treated with the compassion, sensitivity and respect they deserve.”

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