‘A deliberate attempt to deceive’: NHS trust criticised after six year fight

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An NHS children’s hospital has been accused of a “deliberate attempt to deceive” parents grieving over the avoidable death of their two-month-old child, in what an investigation called a “universal failure to be open and transparent” .

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A new report from the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman found that University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust staff had not been honest with Elin and Jenny Condon about the death of their two-month-old son, Ben, who died of a severe sepsis infection in 2015 Was. .

The watchdog said it had identified a list of failures by doctors, nurses and managers at the trust, who said Ben’s parents were a “complete failure”: “It has done it to the extent that it has Could be perceived, as Mr. Condon did, as a deliberate attempt to deceive.

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“We do not believe that the Trust has openly and candidly acknowledged or acknowledged all of the failures in this report. It has failed to do so over many years.”

The Ombudsman said it could not prove that the Trust conspired to cover up errors in Ben’s care, but said: “There is no explanation on the part of the Trust to be open and transparent with Mr. Why was there such a universal failure. So it is impossible to know whether the steps taken by the trust will prevent the same things from happening again.”

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Alyn’s father, a former Olympic athlete, told The Granthshala that there was a culture in the NHS that if families “don’t ask, don’t tell them”, adding: “Not only have we not got any help we have met at every turn. Brick walls. Families shouldn’t fight like us, it consumes your life.”

Mr. Condon said: “It is now six years since Ben died and almost four years since PHSO began the investigation. We hope that the truth of what happened to Ben is now, finally, clear and we We are close to getting justice for which we have fought a lot.

“Our constant desire has been to make sure that what happened to Ben doesn’t happen to another child. There are many other families in the same positions as us. Our message to them is to keep fighting for the truth.”

The couple and lawyers from specialist firm Novum Law will seek a High Court order to reopen the investigation into Ben’s death later this month.

Ben was only eight weeks old when he died as a result of severe sepsis caused by a bacterial infection after being hospitalized with a respiratory virus. He wasn’t given antibiotics until an hour before his death, and his parents weren’t told about sepsis until seven weeks after Ben’s funeral.

Doctors told his parents that blood tests for a bacterial infection were negative the day before his death, but no blood tests were actually done to check for bacteria in the week before Ben died.

Three employees were recorded talking about mistakes in Ben’s care after Ben’s parents left the room during a meeting in July 2015. Managers Julie Voss, Dr. Paul Mannix and Dr. Magrid Schindler are heard to discuss deleting a recording of their conversation, when they learn that Mr. Condon’s recording is still in play.

They acknowledge that antibiotics should have been given four days before Ben’s death and say the parents “have a point”.

When he learns that the recording is still going on, one says: “This could get us into trouble.”

In 2017 the trust acknowledged that Ben’s failure to give antibiotics was a material contribution to his death and that it was likely that he would have survived if antibiotics had been given sooner. Since then it has publicly apologized to the family.

In his report, the Ombudsman found several failures in Ben’s care and how the trust handled subsequent complaints and questions from his parents.

It said: “Mr. Condon is of the view that this is because the Trust has conspired to conceal the true cause of Ben’s death and the liability of the Trust therein. This is fully understandable from the evidence that we have seen.” That’s how he reached that point of view.”

It said there was an “organizational failure” in the way nurses and doctors met Ben’s needs in the ward and that they did not listen to his parents’ concerns. It said testing for the infection should have been done regularly and early.

Referring to the recorded conversation, the report said: “The doctor and complaints manager clearly intended to delete the recording as they specifically discussed it and the staff investigated whether they were Mr. and Mrs. Condon. can do so on the K device. It was clearly intended to prevent Mr. and Mrs. Condon from listening to the information discussed, even though it was not followed. The Trust did not explain why it thought it was acceptable .

“We find that Mr. Condon and his wife suffered grave injustice following Ben’s death as a result of the Trust’s failure to respond to their questions and deal with their grievances.

“The Trust’s failure to provide an open and honest explanation, and to answer their questions for so long, created understandable distrust and prompted the family to question what they were told.

“This is likely to increase their grief and make it more difficult for them to move on from what happened to Ben. Likely to cause significant additional distress for Mr. and Mrs. Condon to pursue the trust for answers. Is. “

Condon’s lawyer, Mary Smith, of Novem Law, said no family should bear with what the couple had to endure.

She said: “Hospital trusts and those working for them have to be open and honest with families from the start. It can’t be right that bereaved families go through a more significant trauma as they struggle to find out what happened to their loved one. “

Robert Woolley, Chief Executive of University Hospitals Bristol, said: “We have previously acknowledged the failures in Ben’s care and our communication with his family, and have apologized. Has admitted failure to give antibiotics on time.

“I would like to reiterate this apology on behalf of the Trust and once again extend my deepest condolences to Mr and Mrs Condon and his family. We will carry forward the recommendations in the report so that we can summarize all the improvements and improvements we have made in complaints and communications with families, along with a robust action plan where necessary.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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