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Baby died of neglect after staff turned off emergency alarm, coroner rules

Hospital neglect contributed to the death of a two month old baby after staff turned off emergency alarms, a coroner has ruled.

Louella Sheridan died at Royal Bolton Hospital in on 24 April 2022 after she was admitted with Bronchiolitis to the hospital’s intensive care unit before later dying from Covid and a related heart condition.

Four alarms on a monitoring machine were silenced and then switched off before the baby collapsed in a high dependency unit, it has been found.

On Wednesday coroner John Pollard ruled neglect by staff had contributed to Louella’s death after staff switched off the alarms on the monitors attached to her during the night.

Summing up his conclusion Coroner Pollard reportedly said there was a “gross failure “ to provide basic medical care to Louell and that had care been given, had the alarms been switched on to alert staff her life may have been extended at least for a short period of time.

He said turning off the alarms was a gross type of conduct.

According to evidence given by the nursing staff, one ICU nurse was allowed to take a two-hour meal break, repeatedly silence alarms and eventually decided to switch the alarm off.

In the early hours of 24 April Louella had a high temperature and a fast heart rate however as not reviewed by a consultant. Shortly after her mother Casey Quigley found her “floppy and unresponsive” and ran in to raise the alarm to nurses.

Ms Quigley, said: “Louella deserved a chance to live but as a family we feel that the actions taken by the hospital’s staff took that chance away from her. Not a day has gone by, in the 20 months since her death, that we haven’t relived that night and wished our daughter was here with us. Louella was our precious baby girl and is missed very much by her brothers and sisters, who will also be affected by her loss for the rest of their lives. The only small comfort we have is that the inquest and our legal case might stop the same thing from happening to other vulnerable babies. That’s our only hope.”

Earlier this year The Independent reported on the story of baby Ollie Vickers a result of neglect because hospital staff failed to follow safe breastfeeding guidelines.

Last year the trust was also criticised following the death of Kingsley Olasupo, a 10-day-old baby boy, who died after the trust failed to screen and treat him for sepsis. Bolton NHS Foundation Trust admitted clinical negligence, while a coroner ruled his death could have been avoided if he had been given antibiotics earlier. and in 2021, we revealed another tragic story of baby Alfie Rizzari who was stillborn after “systemic errors” at the same the hospital.

On 22 April 2022 Louella was admitted to Royal Bolton Hospitals high dependency unit after developing Bronchiolitis, a virus that can cause breathing difficulties in children.

The month prior she had undergone surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for a heart condition.

Rachael Heyes, a solicitor specialising in medical negligence at JMW, is handling the family’s legal case. She said: “The inquest process has been harrowing for Casey and Granville and only made worse by the handling of it by the hospital, which caused the hearing to be delayed by more than a year. We welcome the coroner’s verdict and hope his comments serve as a warning to staff.

“No patient should have monitoring equipment turned off, particularly not a vulnerable baby. The conclusion of the inquest brings some closure for Casey and Granville and although they will never fully recover from this tragedy, is an important milestone for them.”

Tyrone Roberts, Chief Nurse at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: “I want to extend my sincere condolences to Casey, Granville and all of Louella’s family as they continue to come to terms with their tragic loss.

“We fully accept the outcome of the inquest and are incredibly sorry that on this occasion our systems and processes that should have cared for Louella, fell below our standards.

“We’ve made changes to improve this but acknowledge there is still work to do, based on the coroner’s recommendations. *

“I know saying we are sorry will never be enough. We are committed to making sure we learn everything we can from what happened and will make any changes necessary to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.”

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