Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Tragic death of York baby leads to nationwide changes.
The tragic death of a York baby after mistakes by medical helpline, NHS 111, has led to nationwide changes being made to the service.
An inquest heard that an NHS 111 call handler should have ensured Kyle Durkin went to hospital after his mother, Nicola Hick, phoned the service to say he was sick and answered a series of questions about his health.
Instead, the 10-month-old baby stayed at home and was taken later by his parents to a York out-of-hours doctor, who did not diagnose his condition, an intestinal blockage, and sent him home.
The child’s condition worsened and his parents, Nicola and Martyn Durkin, then took him to York Hospital where doctors were unable to save him.
Yorkshire North East assistant coroner, John Broadbridge, recorded a narrative verdict and said: “If responses to a triage telephone call had been appropriately processed, Kyle would then have been presented at hospital and assessed and the outcome different.”
He said Kyle’s condition went unrecognised and untreated following an out-of-hours GP appointment shortly after.
Mr Broadbridge added: “Kyle’s condition became ‘acute-to-critical’ by the next morning and he suffered a fatal cardiac event, and was pronounced dead in spite of extensive emergency care."
He said changes to "questions as set out on the screen" for NHS 111 call handlers were already well in hand, as a direct result of Kyle’s death.
Kyle’s parents said in a statement after the hearing that they were "deeply saddened by the findings of the inquest that, had the 111 call operator properly performed her task, an ambulance would have been called and Kyle would still be with us today.”
They added: “We understand there has been a change in national policy following Kyle’s death and hope that as a result other families don’t have to go through what we have suffered.”
Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which delivers NHS 111 across the region, confirmed that national changes had already been made to the telephone triage software used by the NHS 111 service, in regard to issues highlighted by the coroner.
A spokesman said: “The learning from this has also been used to review our processes within NHS 111 call centres locally and nationally.”
The inquest heard that Kyle was born 14 weeks premature in October 2014 and weighed only 1lb 7oz, suffering from medical problems including three holes in his heart and intestinal difficulties, which required repeated surgery at hospitals in Hull and Leeds.
In July 2015, he developed a blockage in his small intestine as a post-operative complication of the abdominal surgery, which was not diagnosed in time.