Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

NHS failures lead to toddler’s death according to Ombudsman

Meningitis and septicaemia

An Ombudsman’s report, published today, has concluded that the three year old boy, Sam Morrish, died from a treatable condition because of numerous mistakes made by the NHS. Sam died from severe sepsis (blood poisoning) after medical staff at the GP surgery, NHS direct and Torbay Hospital failed to assess and diagnose him properly. This resulted in Sam not receiving the life saving treatment which could have prevented his death in December 2010. In addition to losing their son, Mr and Mrs Morrish feel that they have been failed by the Complaints system of the NHS due to the amount of time it has taken for this report to be finalised and published. The family have had to be persistent in their fight for answers to be provided and responsibility taken for the medical staff’s actions. This, at a time when the NHS should have been doing everything they could to support the family in coming to terms with the premature loss of their son. Mrs Morrish has commented that there were two inaccurate draft reports prior to the final one published today, corrected as a result of the family’s constant intervention and persistence in pursuit of justice. Earlier this year the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, revealed plans to extend the Duty of Candour as part of registration requirements with the Care Quality Commission. This extended duty will see healthcare organisations required be open and honest with patients and their families when harm has been caused. It is proposed that the duty of candour is to apply to all health and social care organisations in England from October 2014. Only time will tell if this proposal becomes a reality, but it difficult to see why more openness and honesty within healthcare organisations would be resisted.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s Bristol office chose Meningitis Research Foundation as their charity of the year in 2014. Read here for more information.