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Baby died after hospital’s ‘catalogue of failings’, NHS inquiry finds

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Baby died after hospital’s ‘catalogue of failings’, NHS inquiry finds

An eight-week-old baby died after “a catalogue of failings” in his treatment at a children’s hospital, which then tried to “deceive” his parents about his death, an official inquiry has found.

Doctors failed to spot that Ben Condon was suffering from a deadly bacterial infection and did not give him antibiotics until an hour before he died, the NHS ombudsman said.

“We found that Ben and his family suffered serious injustice in consequence of the failings we found in his care and treatment,” the parliamentary and health service ombudsman said in a report that contained damning criticisms of Bristol Children’s hospital. The errors were all “lost opportunities” to help Ben recover from his illness and so increased the risk of him dying.

Ben was born very prematurely, at just 29 weeks, in Bristol’s Southmead hospital on 17 February 2015. He went home after six weeks in intensive care but ended up in Weston general hospital in Weston-super-Mare on 11 April with a cough. He transferred on the same day to Bristol Children’s hospital, where doctors diagnosed human metapneumovirus, a respiratory infection caused by a virus. He suffered two cardiac arrests on 17 April and died that day.

In a scathing verdict on the hospital’s treatment of Ben, the ombudsman said doctors and nurses ignored his parents’ concerns about their son’s low temperature, did not test him for a bacterial infection as often as they should have, and did not give him the treatment he needed on 17 April 2015 once they realised how unwell he was.

Doctors and nurses did not tell Ben’s parents, Allyn and Jenny, how severely ill he was, and doctors did not reveal that he had a bacterial infection or had received antibiotics until seven weeks after he died. The Condons have accused the trust of a “cover-up” of the circumstances of Ben’s death.

The ombudsman’s report said there was not enough evidence to support that claim, but did find evidence of deliberate deceit. It concluded that: “We agree with Mr and Mrs Condon that the trust has failed to be open and honest with them about the events surrounding Ben’s death. It has done this to such a degree that it could be seen, as Mr Condon has, as a deliberate attempt to deceive.”

Allyn Condon said: “Reading the report makes us realise just how badly Ben was treated and how atrociously we, as his parents, were dealt with.

“The trust waited for seven weeks to tell us Ben had a bacterial infection. By this time we had already cremated our lovely little boy. They took away our opportunity to have a postmortem so we would know the truth.”

University Hospitals Bristol NHS trust, which runs the hospital, apologised in 2017 for mistakes it made. On Monday its chief executive, Robert Woolley, reiterated its apology “for failings that were made in Ben’s care and our communication with his family”.

Ben’s parents are seeking to have the high court annul an inquest into their son’s death, held in 2016, which resulted in a narrative verdict, after doctors from the trust maintained that Ben’s bacterial infection and the treatment of it were not relevant to his death.

Mary Smith, the Condon family’s lawyer, said the “duty of candour”, introduced after the Mid-Staffs hospital scandal, obliges hospital staff to be open and honest with patients and that, in this instance, this appeared not to have occurred.

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Health

12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Health

Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.

 

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Health

Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.

 

 

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