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Neglect verdict for Birmingham hospital after death of seven year old boy

by Shoosmiths

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A narrative verdict of 'neglect' has been reached, during an inquest into the death of seven year old, Emmanuel Akinmuyiwa.

The coroner’s conclusion confirmed that Emmanuel died during a sickle cell crisis,following failures by Birmingham Heartlands Hospital to test his blood daily and provide a blood transfusion. The coroner maintained that Emmanuel would have survived had the hospital avoided negligence and provided a blood transfusion earlier.

Emmanuel was admitted to Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, following advice from his local GP, after he complained of not feeling well and suffering from headaches.

Following admittance to a ward Emmanuel was given oxygen and fluids as treatment to help combat his headaches. Initially his consultant confirmed that his blood levels were above 5, meaning he was temporarily out of any danger zone. Hospital staff were advised to monitor his blood levels daily, as a result below 5 would indicate the need for a blood transfusion.

The following day he was reviewed, however no test was taken to check his blood levels. The family asked for a test to be taken but were told it was unnecessary.

Emmanuel died on Monday 11th February 2013, after collapsing on the bathroom floor and entering cardiac rest. His blood levels were taken that morning, however a doctor did not review him the rest of the day. Emmanuel was complaining of more and more pain throughout the day.

Later that afternoon, Emmanuel had his blood taken again as insufficient blood had been taken in the morning. The family were told that Emmanuel needed a blood transfusion urgently. Despite the panicked situation it took four hours for blood to be delivered. The blood transfusion started around 8pm, however when he asked to go to the bathroom, he collapsed and couldn’t be saved.

In a statement given by Mr Akinmuyiwa at the inquest he said: “Emmanuel was our youngest child and only son, to lose him in any circumstances would have been difficult, but knowing there have been failings in his care makes it all the more traumatic. We moved to the UK in 2006 to give our children a brighter future and access to better facilities. It is now almost impossible for us to have another child due to my wife’s age; this is devastating for us.

“Although over a year has passed since Emmanuel’s death my wife and I are still struggling to come to terms with it. I constantly have recollections of Emmanuel’s moans of pains, my being ignored in hospital and Emmanuel collapsing.”

Amy O’Connor, the family’s lawyer at national law firm, Shoosmiths, commented on the verdict:

“The coroner’s conclusion was delivered in the form of a narrative verdict of neglect, which confirmed that the cause of Emmanuel’s death had indeed been a sickle cell crisis due to repeated hospital failures.”

She added:

“This is a very tragic case of a seven year old boy who had so much ahead of him. Emmanuel’s death could have been prevented had the hospital avoided negligence.”

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