Six-year-old Suffolk boy dies after ambulance service failures

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Oliver Hall, six, of Halesworth, Suffolk, died from meningitis in October 2017 after ambulance control room staff failed to inform paramedics of crucial information which could have saved his life.

Oliver’s parents called the NHS 111 service after their son started complaining of a headache, sore jaw and fever.

The staff who took this call did not pass on relevant information to the paramedics treating Oliver, and as a result, they were unable to make an appropriate clinical assessment, resulting in his diagnosis being delayed.

The paramedics did not think he had meningitis and left. Oliver’s parents then took him to see his GP who also sent him home.

Later that evening, Oliver’s condition deteriorated and due to there being no ambulances available, his parent’s drove him to a hospital 45 minutes away. He died there the following morning.

A medical expert stated that he believed Oliver “would have survived without a problem” had he been diagnosed and treated quickly.

Emily Legge, a paralegal in the medical negligence team at Ashtons Legal, comments: “Unfortunately no amount of compensation will alleviate this family’s pain. It is shocking that not only were the well-known signs of meningitis not flagged up as requiring urgent attention but also that the ambulance control room staff did not relay such information to the paramedics. When an individual is displaying symptoms of an illness such as meningitis where every minute matters, it is essential that medical professionals do not dismiss symptoms but instead act urgently – it is always better to be on the safe side in order to prevent a tragically avoidable situation such as this from occurring.”

 

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