Father slams ‘massive failure’ of the NHS over son’s death

editorial image

The father of a teenage boy who died after he was misdiagnosed FIVE times by doctors has described the tragedy as a ‘massive failure’ by the NHS.

Lewis Close, of Mansfield Road, Edwinstowe, died from sepsis despite his worried parents taking him to the doctors numerous times.

The 14-year-old was eventually admitted to hospital where he died weeks later.

An three-week inquest into his death concluded in Nottingham on Monday where the coroner criticised doctors for failings to spot the symptoms.

He was seen five times by three different doctors.

“I want the people and the Government to see this as a massive failure,” said Lewis’ father, Rene Close (41) of Mansfield Woodhouse.

“There were four or five missed opportunities and I will make sure that the lessons are learned about sepsis.

“I’m still very angry because this could have been easily prevented.

“This won’t get any easier for us until all these outcomes are addressed.”

Dukeries pupil Lewis took ill while on holiday in Turkey with his family in September 2013, and was forced to undergo a life-saving operation to remove his appendix.

After the operation, he spent days in hospital recovering before he was flown back to Britain where his mother, Fiona, cared for him at their home in Edwinstowe.

But the young Nottingham Forest fan failed to recover, was unable to eat and he eventually suffered a seizure when he was finally admitted to King’s Mill Hospital.

He was taken to the paediatric intensive care unit at the Queen’s Medical Centre, where he died several weeks later.

It was found that he had abscesses in his abdomen, and had suffered from liver failure and kidney failure caused by sepsis - blood poisoning which causes inflammation and prevents blood from reaching vital organs.

Nottinghamshire Coroner Maureen Casey, who recorded a narrative verdict, said that had Lewis been given the appropriate treatment earlier, he may well have survived.

Doug Black, medical director for NHS England in the North Midlands offered his ‘heartfelt sympathies’ to Lewis’ family, adding: “After being made aware of Lewis’s untimely death, we met with his family and gave an undertaking to examine the care he received.

“This review, which was shared with his family and HM Coroner, found that the care delivered to Lewis did not meet the standards the NHS sets itself, and this had tragic consequences.

“As independent experts identified, there were a number of failings in the clinical care Lewis received from the agencies which treated him prior to his death, and missed opportunities to get him the specialist help he so urgently required.”

Known as ‘the silent killer’, Mr Black said it was difficult for clinicians to spot the symptoms of sepsis.

He added: “The local health community has been working together to develop and complete an action plan to address the lessons that have been learnt and raise awareness of sepsis.

“One of the actions in the plan, which we are auditing, has been to remind all GP practices in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire about sepsis and to provide them with a training resource to use in a clinical meeting.”

This is not the first time that the NHS has been warned about the symptoms of sepsis.

In 2012, a coroner said ‘lessons should be learned’ following the death of 17-year-old Greg Bear from Sutton.

He made repeated calls to his GP surgery and was visited by a paramedic, all of whom failed to spot the signs.

Added Rene: “There should have been lessons learned from that, and they should have been put in place, but they weren’t.

“I will be keeping this in the public eye and link up with the sepsis organisation to make sure that people are aware.”