Changes at hospital following death of Buxton toddler

Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport
Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport

Stepping Hill Hospital has changed its systems after the death of a three-year-old Buxton boy following a serious infection from chicken pox.

During an inquest last week, coroner James Newman noted there was no formal observation taken of James Kirkham before he left the hospital’s paediatric ward.

He also said that had antibiotics been prescribed his death could have been avoided.

The Stockport hospital has now issued a statement outlining changes to its systems so a set of observations are conducted on all patients before discharge

“Our thoughts and sympathies have been with the family throughout this very difficult time,” the statement said.

“Group A streptoccocus is a very rare complication of chicken pox.

“The doctor who assessed John on March 15, 2014 found no clinical signs of a secondary infection, and neither the coroner or his independent expert criticised the decision to discharge John with open access to return to the ward if there were any concerns in the following 48 hours.

“We accept that a further set of observations were not taken before John was discharged. There was no evidence to establish the link between that and John’s death. Nevertheless, we have changed our systems to ensure that a set of observations are conducted on all patients before discharge.”

Karen Reynolds, partner at Freeths LLP and solicitor for John’s family, said: “The coroner’s careful and detailed review of this tragic death followed an inadequate review by the Stepping Hill Trust.

“The comprehensive analysis of the evidence heard by the Coroner and his conclusions should be carefully studied by all those concerned in the treatment of children. It is clear that Clinicians at Stepping Hill Hospital treating John totally failed to appreciate the development of the serious post chicken pox complications and misdiagnosed him.

“An opportunity to save his life was missed.

“The family hope that lessons have been learnt and that as a result further deaths will be avoided.”

The coroner recorded a verdict of natural causes on February 5.