Failings in care led to newborn’s death at Alder Hey

Padraig Henry. INCR 46-800CON
Padraig Henry. INCR 46-800CON

The parents of a newborn that died in the hands of doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have still not received a full detailed apology, despite the hospital being found liable for the death of their 11-week-old son.

A catalogue of hospital errors and missed opportunities were to blame for Baby Padraig Henry’s death after he was admitted to Alder Hey hospital for routine surgery in July 2013.

However, after a three-year legal battle that found the hospital guilty, parents Colin Henry (44) and Karen Bailey (40) from Kilrea, have yet to receive a detailed apology.

Padraig, who was born on April 25 2013, was transferred to Alder Hey Hospital for reversal surgery on July 4 2013 after suffering from a suspected bowel proliferation.

At the time of the transfer, the hospital was at high risk of an E.coli outbreak and preventative measures had been put in place. However, Padraig’s parents were not told about this and doctors decided to continue with the non-urgent surgery despite the threat of Padraig being exposed to the disease.

Following the surgery, Padraig contracted E.coli but doctors failed to diagnose and treat it straight away. Later investigations by the team at leading medical negligence law firm Fletchers Solicitors found that doctors had lost a swab that would have highlighted the infection, and also failed to provide the vital antibiotics needed to treat the infection in time.

As a result of this negligence, Padraig sadly died eight days later on July 12, 2013.

Padraig’s father, Colin Henry, said: “We knew something wasn’t right from the start. But the way the hospital continued to handle things following Padraig’s death was a disgrace so we decided to take action against the hospital and fight for justice for our little boy.”

Colin contacted Fletchers Solicitors to bring a claim against the hospital trust to ensure this wouldn’t happen again and the team commenced an investigation.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust admitted breach of duty on September 27 2016 and paid out £17,500 in compensation to settle the claim.

Colin continued: “We were deeply distraught to find out that our son’s life had been cut short by blunders and failings in care. If we had known the hospital was experiencing an E.coli outbreak we would never have allowed our son to have surgery on that day. What’s even more saddening is that it’s very likely that if those mistakes had not happened, Padraig would still be with us today.

“We have been fighting for three years for Alder Hey to admit liability and feel very let down that they can’t give us a full detailed apology – even though they have admitted to their wrongdoings.”

Christian Beadell, a senior solicitor and clinical negligence specialist at Fletchers Solicitors, said: “This is a really upsetting case. Not only should the Trust have taken adequate precautions to prevent Padraig from contracting E.coli, but an opportunity to detect and treat the infection was missed. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital failed in its duty of care, resulting in the tragic death of a young baby. The family is absolutely devastated but determined that lessons are learned so that no one else suffers the same tragedy.”