Hospital criticised after death of five year old

By a County Press reporter

Thursday, April 24, 2014


A FIVE-year-old boy died of organ failure and sepsis after St Mary's Hospital staff failed to recognise he was seriously ill, an inquest heard.

Leon Ryan Hamman, of Kingslea Park, East Cowes, was rushed from St Mary's to Southampton General Hospital on the morning of December 18, last year, suffering from severe sepsis.

He died the following day, after his parents Michael and Tasha, both 26, were told by doctors there was nothing more they could do.

Leon suffered from chronic granulomatous disease, which suppressed his immune system and made him vulnerable to infection. Following a bone marrow transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, last June, he was recovering well and regularly attended hospital for check-ups.

Six days prior to his death, Michael and Tasha took Leon to St Mary's complaining of a spreading rash and vomiting. No blood test was taken, and they were sent home.

Leon was sick again two days before his death, and again he was taken to St Mary's. He condition quickly deteriorated, but the inquest heard staff failed to recognise how seriously ill he was. Staff had followed guidelines but the observation charts they used were not fit for purpose.

Keith Wiseman, coroner for Southampton and the New Forest, recorded a narrative determination at Tuesday's inquest. He said: "When Leon presented at St Mary’s Hospital on December 17, he met objective criteria for a diagnosis of severe sepsis; there was a failure to recognise this and treat accordingly over the following twelve hours by which time he met the objective criteria for a diagnosis of septic shock.

"Even at that stage there was ongoing failure to meet all the then identified requirements for timely and appropriate treatment and Leon sadly passed away on December 19, at Southampton General Hospital, from overwhelming sepsis."

An investigation has been carried out by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, which found Leon's care 'fell below the standard of high quality service we aspire to deliver.' Mr Wiseman said he believed lessons had been learnt.

Mr and Mrs Hamman, who have founded a charity, Love U Thousands, in their son's memory, said: "We are disgusted a hospital can fail to recognise and treat such a serious condition as that which killed our little boy. We can only hope St Mary’s will learn from the errors highlighted by the coroner and that no parent will ever have to say goodbye to their child in this way again."

The couple is seeking further legal advice over a medical negligence claim.

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