Concerns raised over paediatric care at Royal Derby Hospital

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (“UHDB”) have admitted that the paediatric care they provided to a patient did not meet the standard required.

Tragically, despite attending the emergency department at the Royal Derby Hospital, the delays in receiving appropriate paediatric treatment in this case were followed by the sad loss of a 12 year old child, Brandon Dables, in April 2021.

Brandon was at home when he started to suffer with vomiting and was having difficult in seeing. Brandon’s mother decided to take him to the emergency department at the Royal Derby Hospital. Brandon, who was non-verbal, suffered a number of pre-existing health conditions including reduced kidney function and a history of water infections. Tests were carried out which showed that Brandon had suffered a kidney injury. Four hours after being admitted doctors confirmed that he should be started on intravenous antibiotics and fluids. Despite Brandon’s condition deteriorating and his mother repeatedly asking staff as to why he had not been given the fluids she was repeatedly informed they were waiting for a doctor. Despite attending hospital in the early afternoon, intravenous antibiotics and fluids were not commenced until the early hours of the following day.

Sadly, just three hours following commencement of the fluids Brandon went on to suffer a cardiac arrest and medical staff were unable to revive him. He died that same morning.

The results of an inquest into Royal Derby Hospital's paediatric care

A recent inquest into the events in question led to the Coroner, Peter Nieto, recording a narrative verdict. He said, “it is probable that Brandon would not have died if he had been given intravenous fluid treatment following his attendance at hospital within the reasonable timeframe to treat a developing kidney infection”.

A Patient Safety Incident Report prepared by UHDB identified significant failures including the failure by doctors to communicate to nurses the urgency of getting fluids into Brandon and a failure of the nurses to prioritise this. Representatives from UHDB have admitted that the care provided to Brandon did not meet the level that he or his family required. Apologies have been made to the family and UHDB confirm that learning has taken place.

Karen Reynolds, Partner within the Clinical Negligence team, has reflected upon concerns in UHDB's paediatric care provision:

“When a child becomes ill they can deteriorate very quickly, it appears in this case that the Hospital Trust were not alert to the deteriorating health of Brandon and as a result of the delays a tragic loss has occurred. I am acting for a number of patients where children have presented at A&E and there has been a failure in both A&E and the paediatric wards to appreciate the seriousness of their condition. In these cases, it appears that such delays have likely led to a significant impact on the long term health of the patient”.

Our clinical negligence team has a wealth of experience in dealing with the effects of delays in receiving a diagnosis and medical treatment. If you think that you, or a loved one, may have been affected by negligent medical care whilst under the care of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust or elsewhere, you are welcome to contact our team to discuss how we can help and support you:-

  • Karen Reynolds, Partner on 0345 272 5677 or 07717 730834 or by email to [email protected]
  • Siobhan Genever, Director: 0345 030 5774 or 07971 586185 or by email to [email protected]
  • Demi Shephard, Trainee Solicitor: 0345 128 7996 or 07973 801294 by email to [email protected]
  • Ibrahim Mahmood, Legal Assistant: 0345 126 4359 or by email to [email protected]

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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