Baby James was born prematurely at York hospital in late 2014. Due to the prematurity and because he required several operations, including heart surgery and a stoma he was taken to Hull Hospital. Following this, he began to make a gradual recovery.
When James was aged 6 months old he underwent a stoma reversal surgery, he became unwell with vomiting, reduced feeds and a swollen stomach. His mother called 111 for medical advice and explained that her son was experiencing ‘head bobbing’ and ‘grunting’, but the call operator failed to log this. This meant the ambulance request was not listed as urgent and James’s mother was told to visit the out of hours GP at York Hospital later that day.
The out of hours GP stated that James’ distress was caused by teething, and he prescribed antibiotics as a precautionary measure in case James had a chest infection. James was sent home, and the GP did not request a paediatric opinion or discuss the symptoms with an A&E doctor.
Later that evening James appeared to be suffering with pain and began vomiting. The next morning the vomiting worsened and James became unresponsive. Despite extensive CPR for several hours at home, James sadly died with his parents present in July 2015.
The cause of death was later suspected to be related to adhesions following his bowel surgery, causing an ischaemic bowel, organ failure and cardiac arrest.
Pryers Solicitors were instructed in Oct 2015 to represent the family at the Inquest, with a view to pursuing a claim against the out of hours GP and the 111 service. Our allegations stated that the 111 service had incorrectly logged James’ symptoms which had impacted on the assessment of the urgency and the severity of the treatment he required.
In addition to this, we also stated that when James attended the out of hours GP, adhesions should have been considered as a cause of his illness which should have led to an emergency referral to hospital and investigative surgery should have been performed that night. However, the out of hours GP was aggressively defended by his own team and as result, the GP was effectively exonerated.
The Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (who represent the 111 service) made admissions to the Coroner regarding failures in logging James symptoms correctly which contributed to the issues in James’ treatment. They later made an offer of £60,000 which James’ parents accepted.