Hospital Apologises after 4-Year-Old Boy Dies

Hospital Apologises After 4-Year-Old Boys Death 25966

Stoke Mandeville Hospital has apologised to the family of a child who died after medical mistakes were made while he was being treated for viral gastroenteritis.

Oliver Blockley, who was four, was taken to hospital by his mother Jennifer in October 2011 after he began displaying symptoms of the condition; the Bucks Herald reports.

However, hospital employees failed to ensure he was provided with the right fluids and drugs, while his condition was not monitored after he went into septic shock. As a result of these medical mistakes, Oliver went into cardiac arrest and staff were unable to revive him. 

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which was placed in special measures last year, has now issued an apology to his bereaved mother.

Anne Eden, Chief Executive of Stoke Mandeville Hospital said, "I sincerely and without reservation apologise to Ms Blockley for the actions of the Trust which led to Oliver's death."

She insisted that the Stoke Mandeville Hospital has made every effort to be open and transparent with the Blockley family throughout what has been a "very distressing time".

For instance, she confirmed clinicians from the hospital have met with them to "help them understand what happened" nearly three years ago.

Ms Eden also pointed out that the Trust has "thoroughly reviewed the circumstances around Oliver's death", along with the procedures, policies and staff training at the time. As a result, it has made important changes, such as strengthening its early warning process for recognising when the condition of a child is deteriorating.

Ms Eden said the hospital has also overhauled how patients with gastroenteritis are cared for and treated, particularly with regard to the use and type of fluid they are given.

Mother Criticised 'Impersonal' Response

Oliver's mother Jennifer was highly critical of how Stoke Mandeville Hospital dealt with the fallout of her son's death. She said she received a "very impersonal letter" stating changes had been made, but pointed out that it did not say what these changes actually were.

As a result, the family could not get any reassurance that lessons had been learned from Oliver's death.

Ms Blockley was also unhappy with the the hospital for sending the letter on headed notepaper, which bore a strapline saying "safe and compassionate care every time".

"It just cut deeply as if that were the case, my beautiful Ollie would still be here," she said.

"I feel that it's every parent's right to know that the main hospital in their area has had major failings in care for a child who, if treated correctly, had a 95% chance of survival from the infection," Ms Blockley continued.

She stated that when she questioned staff at the hospital about her son's treatment, she was told he was suffering from a tummy bug and that he would be OK.

Ms Blockley also noted that later on when her son was "losing his battle" for life, hospital employees dealt with the situation in a "most unprofessional" manner.

Oliver was described as a kind, gentle and special boy whose death hit the family very hard, in particular his brother Finlay, who was 18 months old at the time.

By Chris Stevenson