Parents sue British hospital after kids' death

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 14, 2012 11:50 hrs

London, Oct 14 (IANS) Three families in Britain have begun legal action against a top children's hospital as they claimed their children, suffering from heart disease, died after inadequate medical and nursing care.

A fourth family has claimed that poor treatment at the Bristol Children's Hospital led to their son's brain damage, the Daily Express reported.

The hospital has said it will now scrutinise its last 50 child heart deaths.

All four children were heart patients at the hospital.

Three of the families have begun legal action and government watchdog the Care Quality Commission has launched an investigation.

Laurence Vick, of clinical negligence firm Michelmores, represents the three couples and led their legal team.

The report said that in the 1980s and 90s, it was found that at least 35 babies died and scores may have been saved if they had not been operated on at Bristol.

The hospital has admitted failings in its care in two of the cases and has confessed to six other patient safety incidents over the past 12 months, citing low staffing as a "contributory factor", the daily said.

Seven-year-old Luke Jenkins, and four-year-old Sean Turner had the same heart operation, considered relatively low risk but both died. Their parents believe they lacked adequate medical and nursing care.

Luke had a cardiac arrest within a week of surgery. Around 19 minutes later, he had irreversible brain damage.

His parents Faye, 27, and Stephen, 30, had to go through the agony of turning off his life-support machine, the report said.

In a 30-page hospital report into Luke's death, the hospital trust admitted low staffing levels had put patients at risk. It accepted a "failure to recognise and monitor a deteriorating patient".

The hospital also reviewed the case of Sean Turner whose parents allege that inept care contributed to his death. Sean died of a brain haemorrhage in March after a cardiac arrest on the ward. His death came six weeks after vital corrective heart surgery.

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