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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.

Health

NAFDAC bans sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, (NAFDAC) has placed a ban on the sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria.

The agency explained that the ban was due to Butyphenyl Methylpropional, BMHCA, content in the product.

This was contained in a post on the Agency’s X handle on Thursday.

According to the post, the European Union, EU, banned the product due to the risk of harming the reproductive system of users, causing harm to the health of the unborn child, and cause skin sensitization.

“Although this product is not on the NAFDAC database, importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers are advised to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of the above-mentioned product”, the agency added.

 

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Health

No outbreak of Lassa fever in any local govt- Kogi Govt

Nigeria identifies three drugs for Lassa fever treatment

Kogi State Government has debunked any outbreak of Lassa fever across the 21 local government areas of the State.

Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Abdulazeez Adams Adeiza while reacting to a viral video of an alleged lassa fever outbreak, noted that a student who was admitted to the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja did not die of lassa fever.

According to the Commissioner, it was reported that the student died of hemorrhagic fever.

The Commissioner explained that the deceased student who was admitted at the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja presented complaints of fever and bleeding from the gum.

He added that the patient was being investigated and managed, while samples were taken and sent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Abuja, but before the result was released, he had lost his life.

The Commissioner said the result came out to be negative for lassa fever.

In his words, ”the suspected case has turned out to be negative for lassa fever.

“It is not only lassa fever that can make a patient to present bleeding from the gum. Other reasons could include blood dyscrasias and bleeding disorders”.

He advised members of the public to disregard the report as no case of lassa fever has been reported in the state

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UCH workers directed to stop working by 4pm over continuous blackout

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) which is the umbrella body of unions at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo state, has directed all employees of the health institution to commence work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Tuesday, April 2. 

The directive came after the tertiary health institution was disconnected by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, (IBEDC) over N495 million debt accrued in over six years.

Addressing newsmen, chairman of JAC, Oludayo Olabampe stated that it is no longer safe to continue to attend to patients under the circumstances. He also said that workers would embark on strike if power is not restored.

He said;

“Workers would now work from 8 am to 4 pm only because it is dangerous and risky to attend to patients in that situation. We held a meeting with the management this morning but the issue is that there is no electricity. So, from today, Tuesday, April 2, we will work until 4 p.m. We are not attending to any patient after 4 p.m.

“This means that we won’t admit patients because the nurses that will take care of them will not be available after 4 p.m. and you don’t expect patients to be on their own from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the following day.

“If patients need blood tests, the lab will not work, if they need radiography, the radiographers will not work, and the dieticians in charge of their food too will not work after 4 p.m. We also gave management another 14-day ultimatum which started counting from March 27, and if after 14 days power is not restored, we will embark on warning strike.”

Commenting on the development, the chief medical director of UCH, Jesse Otegbayo, alleged that IBEDC was billing the hospital as an industry. He stated that the union did not formally notify management before making such a decision.

He said;

“I have not heard about that, if they are going to do that, they should write to management officially, and then the management will respond. There are rules that govern government service, you can’t just decide what hours you work and expect to be paid full-time.

“If they go ahead to do that without informing management officially, management has a way of applying the rules to pay them for the number of hours which they worked. The proper thing is for them to put it in writing because they didn’t write officially to the management before taking the decision.”

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