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Tragic death of baby after being turned away from hospital

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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There has been a very sad case in the news recently concerning a seven month old baby who died after being refused access to Stafford Hospital.

The baby, Holly, was found unconscious in her cot by her mother. An ambulance was called, but Holly was unable to be taken to the Accident and Emergency department at Stafford Hospital (a 2.5 mile journey from her home) as it is currently closed overnight (and has been since December 2011) due to the fact that the hospital needs to recruit additional staff.

The Paediatric department at Stafford Hospital was contacted by the ambulance crew, but they were also unable to take Holly as they were at full capacity and were handling another emergency case at the time.

Holly was therefore taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, a 22 mile journey from her home, and sadly died shortly before her arrival.

It is not clear whether Holly’s life could have been saved if she had been taken to Stafford Hospital and had received earlier treatment. However, what is clear is that her parents have lost the comfort (as much as a parent can take comfort from a situation such as this) that their child was given the best opportunity to have potentially life-saving treatment.

The hospital were merely following protocol by referring Holly to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, but it is concerning that in these times of recession (when budget cuts continue to be made) that there is the chance that more of these types of incidents could occur in the future due to staffing issues, ward and even hospital closures.

It is hoped that this will not be the case and that our NHS hospital system will be maintained as an essential and vital first port of call for emergency medical treatment.

By medical negligence solicitor, Carla Twist