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12-month old’s life could have been saved

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

An NHS England report has stated that the life of 12-month-old William Mead from Cornwall could have been saved if he had received better medical care.  Both GPs and call handlers from NHS 111 failed to recognise that he was suffering from sepsis (blood poisoning) following a chest infection.  This has raised doubts about the efficacy of England’s out-of-hours helpline which uses advisors, who are not medically trained, inputting information to a computer system.  It states that if a medic had taken the emergency call it is possible that the baby’s cries would have been recognised as “a child in distress” and urgent medical treatment would have been sought.

“it’s nothing serious”

Instead, William’s mother, Melissa Mead was told not to worry and was told that “it’s nothing serious” by an NHS 111 call handler.  William died on 14 December 2014.  A coroner’s inquest carried out in June 2015 overturned the cause of death, which had been recorded as natural causes, to one of treatable blood poisoning caused by a long standing chest infection.

The report found that William’s GP had failed to record relevant information in his notes.  They had also failed to recognise his symptoms and had not given his parents adequate advice about how to seek help over the weekend.  The out-of-hours GPs did not have access to William’s records and the software used by NHS 111 was too crude to pick up the warning signals of sepsis.

Since William’s death, NHS 111 staff have been given extra training to help recognise the symptoms of sepsis.

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