Medical negligence allowed eight-year-old asthmatic to die

  • September 26, 2018
  • Jack died at Russells Hall Hospital when he was eight because his acute asthma was not treated properly – the hospital didn’t follow established guidelines for regular nebuliser treatment, there were delays in ensuring that first a doctor, and then a consultant, saw him and staff failed to step up his treatment as he struggled to breathe.

    He died that night, and his mother, herself an asthmatic, witnessed much of his suffering that evening – his father also heard the unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate his son.

    Have you lost a loved one because of clinical negligence? We can help

    They came to Charlotte Measures for help and support before the inquest into his death – Charlotte was able to advise them when the Coroner, relying on evidence from a respiratory consultant who had not been involved in his treatment that night, came to a verdict of death by natural causes.

    Jack’s parents were determined to find out what had really happened and to make sure that the hospital trust acknowledged its failings. They decided to pursue a civil claim against the trust and Charlotte gathered evidence on their behalf, eventually serving a claim on the trust. They denied all allegations of negligence, so his parents then had to go to court to find the answers they sought.

    Failures admitted

    Further investigations included independent evidence from experts, and the Trust then admitted that there had been a delay in recognising that Jack needed more intensive treatment, including intravenous therapy. They also admitted that, if that had happened sooner, he would probably have survived. They agreed that they owed his parents an apology, but declined to give it until the court case was over.

    Throughout this process, Jack’s mother suffered from extreme anxiety and neglected her own health because she wanted to avoid the hospital where her son had died. She developed pneumonia and had to be treated in the intensive care unit – she suffered a severe asthma attack and died almost four years after Jack.

    Jack’s father decided to continue with the court case in honour of his wife and son and a settlement was reached.

    Charlotte said: “Someone in such a fragile state needs to be treated with great care and sensitivity; they need emotional support as well as sound and clear advice. Eventually, Jack’s father had the answers that he and his wife had wanted, and the satisfaction that they had done all they could to prevent another child dying as Jack had done.”

    If you or a loved one have suffered because of medical negligence, delays in treatment or hospital failings, our team can help you to find answers. Call us on 0800 050 1668 or Charlotte can be contacted at

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