28 January 2013
Parents may seek clinical negligence damages after son's death
Clinical negligence compensation could be sought by the parents of a young boy who passed away at Southampton General Hospital from a cardiac arrest.
Matthew Kenway died at the age of four in December 2010 and the inquest into his death is gathering evidence to establish whether the professionals in charge of his care could have done anything to prevent him from dying, The News reports.
The child required constant care for a lifelong condition that affected the strength of his muscles and he was admitted to the hospital's high-dependency unit after undergoing an operation on his kidney.
During the early hours of the day after this procedure, the probe monitoring Matthew's oxygen levels showed no reading and although the nurse on duty assumed this was a fault with the machine, the boy had actually gone into cardiac arrest.
It therefore took another 20 minutes for the nursing team on the ward raising the alarm about his critical state with a doctor and it is thought that this delay may have cost the child his life, although Dr Gary Cannett, a paediatric respiratory consultant, described the delay as "understandable" because of the "extraordinary set of circumstances".
At the time of Matthew's cardiac arrest, the other duty nurse was on her break and a cardiac arrest call was not put out immediately because an unqualified nurse fetched a doctor rather than following standard protocol.
Lynsey Menendez, the professional who thought the machine had broken, explained that this mistake was made because it is extremely unusual for a child to go into cardiac arrest without first experiencing any respiratory problems.
However, Anthony Kenway and Kite Oxley, the boy's parents said their son's death has "devastated us and changed us forever".
"We miss him so much. We just cannot understand how things can have gone so wrong, so quickly that night," they added.
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Posted by Francesca Witney