Start your claim

March 3rd 2017

Hospital Negligence

London Portland Hospital investigated over death of seven-year-old boy

London Portland Hospital investigated over death of seven-year-old boy

Hudgell Solicitors is supporting the family of a seven-year-old boy whose death at London’s Portland Hospital is being investigated after intensive care staff removed vital equipment used to monitor his breathing levels.

Hudgell Solicitors is supporting the family of a seven-year-old boy whose death at London’s Portland Hospital is being investigated after intensive care staff removed vital equipment used to monitor his breathing levels.

James Dwerryhouse – who suffered from sleep apnoea (which causes potentially life-threatening stoppages in breathing when asleep) – was found unresponsive in his bed by night staff after his monitoring equipment had been switched off and not turned back on for close to three hours.

Despite emergency attempts to save him, James suffered an irreversible hypoxic brain injury and died after his life-support was withdrawn the following day.

A Serious Incident Report (SIR) into his death has confirmed eight nursing staff were on duty in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of the hospital on August 25, 2016. There was a mix of direct employees and bank and agency nurses caring for six patients, four less than capacity.

However, conflicting accounts of what happened that night have so far been given as part of the ongoing investigation, which has been passed to the Coroner, the Metropolitan Police Service, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and Medical Advisory Committee for further consideration.

The Serious Incident Report (SIR) revealed staff;

  • Took the decision to remove the monitoring equipment at 1.15am without consulting a more senior member of staff.
  • Had breaks during the night shift which were longer than hospital rules permitted and failed to formally complete and document handovers of their responsibilities.
  • Failed to properly document their observations of James throughout the night.
  • Immediately turned off sounding alarms when reconnecting James’ monitoring equipment at 3.58am.
  • May have taken 20 minutes to call cardiac arrest teams to come to James’ aid.

James on horse

James number of health conditions, but had a happy life and was ‘cheeky and funny’

James battled a number of health conditions, including having to be fed through a tube, bowel problems, epilepsy and hearing and sight impairment, but was described by his family as a ‘cheeky, funny, happy and sometimes mischievous boy’, like most other children of his age.

He had successfully come through the elective formation of a colostomy at the hospital, which had been arranged to improve his bowel management and help ensure he was better prepared for moving into a new class at school.

James had been fine following his operation, enjoying a Facetime session with his brothers and sisters from his hospital bed, and was in good spirits when his father, John, left his beside in the early hours.

Just hours later however, James’ parents were call back to hospital and told their son was unlikely to recover. He was transferred to the Treehouse Hospice in Suffolk, where he died the following day – just two days after his successful operation.

‘Further serious questions need asking of all involved at hospital’ – Rosamund Rhodes Kemp

James’ family are launching legal action against HCA Healthcare UK, owners the Portland Hospital, through Hudgell Solicitors.

Solicitor Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp says ‘many further serious questions now need asking of all involved in caring for James at the hospital.’

An inquest is still to be held, and Mrs Rhodes-Kemp said: “What cannot be disputed in this case is that a huge, unforgivable error was made in that James’ monitoring equipment was turned off when it should have remained on at all times, that is after all why he was in Paediatric Intensive Care post operatively.

“Had the equipment remained on, no matter what other things were happening that night on the intensive care unit, staff would have been immediately alerted to any danger.

“What is totally unacceptable is the lack of detail and clarity forthcoming so far with regard to the specifics of what happened that night. The unit was not understaffed, it was not over capacity, and therefore there seems to be no excuse for what happened.

“Conflicting accounts have been provided as to what exactly happened when James was found not breathing. This means it has yet to be made clear whether the alarm was raised immediately, or whether there was a 20 minute delay, which obviously could have had a big impact on James’s chances of survival.

“Further serious questions now need asking by the relevant authorities, of all those involved in caring for James at the hospital that night. Answers must be forthcoming.

“To leave a child who is in the intensive care unit because he has a known condition such as sleep apnoea unmonitored, and also show such a lapse attitude towards break lengths, handovers of care, and observations, is almost beyond belief.

“This is a tragic case. This family took their son to hospital for a straight forward operation which passed without issue. He then died simply because of failures in monitoring. ”

Family hope legal case will bring answers as to what happened

James’ mother, Marguerite, said:

It has been completely heart-breaking. James had health issues and needed a lot of health support in his life, but he was full of life, cheeky, funny, happy, and occasionally mischievous, like all little boys.

Only days earlier he’d been to a summer club and he’d been chasing around, up and down the slides and having a great time. He wasn’t a fragile boy at all, he wasn’t poorly, and he certainly wasn’t a boy who was at risk of dying.

Everybody loved him, from his school to those who supported his health. This was a routine operation, and the operation itself was a complete success. To then lose him simply because hospital staff haven’t cared for him and checked on him as they should is something we cannot accept and never will.

We still don’t know the full truth. We know the police have been looking into the matter, and now we also have solicitors acting on our behalf, so hopefully we will get there in the end. We need to for James.

Until now we’ve been very quiet and even people close to us have been unaware of how James was let down and why he died. People need to know though, and we need to know exactly what happened that night.

Incident report concluded root cause of death was removal of monitoring equipment

The SRI, concluded that the root cause of James’ death ‘appears to be the removal of vital signs monitoring between 1.15am and 3.58am, as this resulted in the inability to be alerted to a suspected deterioration in the child’s respiratory condition and reducing oxygen saturations.’

It concluded that lessons need to be learned, included not removing vital signs monitoring from a child in the PICU without specific medical input and approval, that staff breaks on the PICU should always follow the Hospital’s expectations in terms of duration and frequency, and that all handovers between staff should be clearly documented with timings.

The SRI also addressed claims that James’ family had at some point asked for the monitoring equipment being removed – something they deny – adding that in all cases ‘the clinical needs of the patient remain priority above parental wishes’ anyway.

Related News

The Guardian 

Standard 

Daily Mail 

The Sun 

Metro 

Mirror 

What Our Clients Say

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Hudgell Solicitors have given me…"

Hudgell Solicitors have given me outstanding service and support through a difficult time. They have assisted me in claiming compensation which they made the journey of getting it as easy as possible.

KatieFebruary 14, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Couldn't be easier"

Couldn't be easier. From the initial call the whole process was handled smoothly and effortlessly.

Kevin RobertFebruary 14, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Amazing !!"

I felt relaxed through the whole process, i was made to feel confident in winning my case which i would like to add i did 😁 .. the company kept me informed all the way through by emails aswell as telephone calls, i would highly recomend to everyone needing expert…

LesleyFebruary 11, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Really happy with the service I had…"

Really happy with the service I had from Hudgells & Alex was great!

Natalie PayneFebruary 10, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Claim resolved quickly and efficiently"

The lawyer was quick to respond and always kept me updated on progress. Everything was resolved efficiently. I would certainly recommend them to family and friends.

Lulu BFebruary 04, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"There when ever I needed to ask a…"

There when ever I needed to ask a question, very informative, brilliant job definitely use them again if I needed too

KatieFebruary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Thank you Sarah Kidd"

Sarah Kidd was fantastic she give me the best advice always keeping me up to date with everything that was going on

Christopher DixonJanuary 31, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"It took over 3 years to resolve my case…"

It took over 3 years to resolve my case and Hudgell supported me throughout with great sensitivity and professionalism. My caseworker, Gemma, always kept me updated and was easily reached if l had questions to ask. Can wholeheartedly recommend Hudgell.

Robert WebsterJanuary 31, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Every time I phoned my call was…"

Every time I phoned my call was answered in a polite manner and I got answers to my questions.

KhalidJanuary 30, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Anthony and his team at Hudgell…"

Anthony and his team at Hudgell solicitors are extremely professional and caring People. From the first phone conversation right through to completion i was always kept updated, if i had any concerns and contacted them, they were always happy to listen and put my mind at rest. I would highly…

Mrs lisa martinJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Great service . Made me feel at ease . Proffesional and very quick to respond to any questions or concerns I would highly reccomend

LesleyJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service

JensonJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service, Alex Garven was most helpful in dealing with my claim. Many thanks for his hard work in getting a result for me,. It took quite a while but during that time I received regular progress updates and a quick response if I had any queries .

Jill ElliottJanuary 15, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Lauren Dale"

Lauren Dale was so sensitive when dealing with my mums claim and she totally understood what i really wanted from the outcome. she kept me fully informed of everything, as and when it happened. I cannot thank her enough for her help and understanding on such a sensitive case. 5…

Jane from North YorkshieJanuary 11, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent Service"

Excellent, professional and friendly solicitors. It was a very simple process and they kept in constant contact to update me on any developments. Would definitely recommend.

Philippa January 09, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Could not have been simpler or easier"

Could not have been simpler or easier, they did everything required and more. Nice, pleasant to talk to, they do all the leg work, put everything into context and resolve as quick as possible. Hopefully will not have to use again but if a situation arises then would not hesitate…

DarrenJanuary 08, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very helpful and always kept in touch…"

Very helpful and always kept in touch via email through the while process. Highly recommended

Joseph Conrad Waudby January 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Brilliant customer service"

Brilliant customer service, always will contact you as they say they will. Have been very helpful with my case and explained the process thoroughly, very easy to understand. Would definitely recommend.

Julia MatildaJanuary 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Verry happy with the result they got…"

Verry happy with the result they got for my claim very officiant and professional my particular solicitor was the most friendly official type person that I have dealt with before really happy with the freindly kind manner in which they dealt with myself and my claim I would recommend them…

Richard RobertsJanuary 07, 2020