Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Southport baby dies as paramedics forced to bypass nearest A&E

Many people in Southport have feared this day. The A&E department for children was shut in 2003 and relocated across the county boundary in Ormskirk. It is hard to imagine how the family of the 4 day child who died are coping. I'm sure everyone's first thoughts are with them and the ambulance crew who rang the closest hospital after resuscitating the child only to be told to drive across the Moss to Ormskirk
The Southport Visiter has the story . John Pugh was quickly off the mark and has called for a public inqiry. the Story was front page news in the Daily Post:

An ambulance was called to tend to the child after he stopped breathing due
to suspected heart problems.
Paramedics rushed to the home in Bank Square, in Southport town centre, just after 1.20am yesterday, and tried to resuscitate the child.
But when they radioed ahead to Southport and Formby District Hospital,
they were told they must take the child eight miles to Ormskirk.
The ambulance finally arrived at Ormskirk A&E at 2.05am, but the baby later
Southport MP John Pugh is demanding an inquiry as to why the child
could not be treated at its local hospital.
He said: “There needs to be a proper, independent inquiry into how this happened and why the sophisticated resources of Southport hospital were bypassed.
“If they could have saved this poor mite’s life, it puts a huge question mark against the assurances and policy that NHS bosses have doled out for the last few years.
“Children have to be treated in Southport.”
A post mortem will be carried out on the child later today.

The NHS Trust put out a statement which even those without an higher degree in textual analysis can see is far from the full story:

A Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust spokesperson said: “A call was received at Southport and Formby Hospital from the ambulance service control room in the early hours yesterday about a baby at a residential address in Southport.
“As is normal in such situations, the ambulance service was advised to take the baby to Ormskirk Hospital because the children’s A&E Department there is fully equipped to deal with emergencies.
“The baby was not refused admittance to Southport and Formby, and was taken directly to Ormskirk.”
A North West Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed the ambulance carrying the child acted on instructions and went straight to Ormskirk.

Well, if it was normal practice to have nothing to do with Southport why did the para medics ring the hospital?

Assurances have always been given that common sense would prevail. As you can imagine the local websites have been full of comment. The following contribution took my notice:

"My heart goes out to the babies family, I can understand totally what they are going through, as my wife and I lost our baby girl last March aged 3 days, she was taken to Southport and Formby DGH by the paramedics from our home in Southport and died a short time later. I could not Fault the staff at Southport A+E that directly worked on our daughter.

"Question: Why was the baby in March taken to Southport DGH BY PARAMEDICS, whereas with Bank Sq baby PARAMEDICS were told to take her to Ormskirk?"

We need to know if the protocols have changed in the few months between these two incidents? We need a transcript of the radioed message from the para medics to Southport Hospital.