Toddler death was 'avoidable' coroner rules due to 'serious failures' by hospital staff (From This Is Local London)
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Toddler death was 'avoidable' coroner rules due to 'serious failures' by hospital staff
A coroner has identified “serious failures” at Kingston and Royal Marsden hospitals at an inquest into the death of toddler Alice Mason.
Alice died in March 2011, aged two, with fluid on the brain after doctors failed to order a vital scan in time.
The court heard she was not even given pain medication during a night she spent holding her head and tossing in her hospital bed, in agony.
Assistant coroner Sean Cummings recorded a narrative verdict yesterday afternoon at West London Coroner’s Court.
He said: “There were a very large number of serious failures on nearly every level by medical and nursing staff who formed part of the shared care system.”
He added: “Alice’s death was avoidable.”
Alice’s parents, Rosalind and Gareth Mason, said in a statement: “Our daughter's death at two years of age, which the coroner has today described as 'avoidable', has devastated us.
"She died in pain whilst under the care of medical professionals in whom we had placed our trust and who we were forced to beg to get her the help she needed.
"Expert evidence has made clear that if the doctors had done what they should, Alice would be with us today.
"The inquest has clearly shown that despite Alice being under the 'shared care' of three hospitals, these hospitals did not work together as they should.
"We are grateful that the inquest into Alice's death has at last allowed us to hear from the medical staff involved in Alice's care and heard how an abject failure of leadership led to our daughter's untimely death.
"The evidence has been shocking and should cause concern for all those who are patients of shared care systems across the UK.
"We would like to know what has been done and being done to ensure nothing like this ever happens to another family.
"We hope the serious concerns the coroner will now communicate to all parties, including the CQC and NHS London, will lead to a real change in the way care is provided to children in London and across the UK."
Mr and Mrs Mason embraced in the court room following the hearing, and thanked court staff.
There was a failure to diagnose Alice’s affliction correctly, Dr Cummings said, and “further serious failures” in delays to her transfer from Kingston Hospital to St George’s Hospital for emergency surgery.
Nicola Wainwright, representing Mr and Mrs Mason, said in a statement: "The evidence the Coroner heard at the inquest has confirmed the numerous failings in Alice’s care.
“We continue to pursue legal action against those involved.”
Dr Cummings told Mr and Mrs Mason: “You have my sincere condolences.
“I am very, very sorry that you had to endure this, and that this has gone on for such a long time.”
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