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Tragic Death of Four Year Old Pressures Health Chiefs To Change Hospital Guidelines

Doctors are the third leading cause of death, and children are unfortunately no exception to this statistic. Health chiefs are looking into the death of a four-year-old autistic boy who died just days after going to hospital with a suspected tummy bug. All eight Doctors who reviewed the case failed to find the problem.

The problem is it wasn't just a tummy bug. Harry Procko's parents took him to the GP when he started vomiting and having diarrhea on June 18th, 2014.

They grew concerned as although the vomiting and diarrhea had stopped he was not getting better. Dr. Layzel examined Harry and said he had a tummy bug and a temperature and although he had lost some weight this was not much of a concern. They were advised to continue giving Harry paracetamol (acetaminophen) to reduce the fever.

Richard Clements and Marika Procko, who have six other children, returned to the hospital with Harry the following day for further checks but say they were discharged after he was observed and weighed.

On June 20th, they attended an additional follow-up appointment and we were seen by Dr. Holly Barret who checked Harry over and reiterated Dr. Layzel's clinical impression that it was not a concern. She asked that they take Harry to that a paediatrician for a second opinion.

On the visit to the paediatrician the same day, the nurse that saw Harry said that his temperature was a little high and his heart was racing. His blood sugar was fairly high at 9.4 and Harry was given the priority level of a category 2 to see the doctors.

After the doctor had seen Harry he was given a fairly large dosage of ibuprofen which the parents questioned. They were told that larger doses can be used within the hospital as they dose on weight. Harry had cream applied to both arms and legs as they were told blood tests were needed.

Harry was then sent up to the children's' assessment unit and on arrival they explained about the severity of his autism and also about his previous problems with his heart when he was a baby and again his obs were taken.

They were told that his heart was again racing and that a murmur was heard along with a gushing noise and that an ECG and blood tests were going to be completed.

They were left sitting in the ward with a very distressed child (due to his autism) for hours and kept asking about the murmur. In total 3 doctors heard had diagnosed Harry with the murmur so the parents grew concerned and kept inquiring about the diagnosis as Harry was becoming more distressed. In total Harry was left for over 8 hours with nothing practical being done.

Harry was becoming more and more distressed and the tests were not being undertaken even after repeated requests. Eventually, they received approval to take Harry home and return the next morning, which they did. On Saturday morning still no tests were carried out and they were discharged by the Doctor and given a prescription with instructions to feed fluids orally via a syringe. On Sunday there was no change in his condition.

On Monday, Richard found his son "blue and not breathing". After the family called an ambulance, it took Harry to hospital and the four-year-old was briefly revived before being pronounced dead.

"There is no way of describing it. I've lost parents, I've lost sisters, aunts and uncles, but you don't expect this at all," said Richard.

"The shock factor is unbelievable. It is awfully quiet without him; he was literally 24 hours a day we had to do everything around him.

"It goes without saying that we're missing him terribly."

The 47 year old added: "He was very much the boss of the house. We would be watching children's TV at 3am. He didn't sleep much.

"The autism made him very delayed -- he didn't talk, he didn't walk. We only got about five steps out of him and the only word he could say was 'mum' but he was happy."

The family have complained to Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the QMC, as they believe his care was "inadequate".

"All the above is why we feel that his care while in the hospital was highly inadequate and that the hospital didn't listen and take our concerns seriously instead they did very little for over 8 hours. If they had listened to us and had done the tests that we were told were needed I truly believe that my son Harry would have received the correct treatment and would still be with us today."

"We have also received a discharge letter which mentions a diagnosis of gastroenteritis. We were never told this also no medications listed."

Stephen Fowlie, NUH medical director, said: "We extend our most sincere condolences to the family for their tragic loss and remain in contact with them.

"After every unexpected child death there is a multi-agency review to ensure that we understand what contributed to such a sad loss. NUH is contributing to that review of Harry's care.

"We are also conducting an internal review of his treatment at NUH and we will share the findings with his parents as soon as it is completed."

An inquest into Harry's death will be held later.

"The system needs changing and we are eager to make sure that it does so this can never happen again. With a different system my son would still be alive today."

Hundreds of thousands of people die every year in U.S. hospitals because of easily prevented errors.

Richard is asking others to join them and sign a petition to improve medical care towards children with autism and other disabilities within the hospital system.

Facebook Page For Little Harry


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