Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Doctor apologises over boy's death

A hospital doctor has apologised over the death of a child with epilespy

A hospital doctor has apologised in court to the family of a five-year-old boy who died from an overdose of an epilepsy drug, saying she made a mistake with his emergency medication.

Dr Helen Moore asked the coroner if she could make a short statement when she gave evidence at the inquest into the death of Bailey Ratcliffe who died at Dewsbury District Hospital in West Yorkshire in 2009.

Bailey was epileptic and was brought into the hospital's accident and emergency department suffering the worst fit his family had ever experienced.

Bradford Coroners Court heard how Bailey was given the drug phenytoin on the orders of Dr Moore, who was a paediatric registrar called to help deal with the youngster's life-threatening condition.

Before giving details of what happened to the court, the doctor turned to Bailey's mother Carrianne Ratcliffe and said: "I just wanted to say it's with tremendous sorrow I find myself here today."

Dr Moore said this was not only for the mistakes that were made but also for the fact it had taken "three-and-a-half years to see you face-to-face and say how sincerely sorry I am for these mistakes".

Ms Ratcliffe and other members of her family were in tears as the doctor made the apology.

Bradford Coroner Peter Straker heard how Bailey had been fitting for three hours when he arrived at the hospital on May 27, 2009.

Dr Moore described how he had been given other drugs by his family, paramedics and A&E staff to try and control the fitting but she decided it was time to move on to phenytoin. But the doctor admitted she made a mistake in the dosage instructions when she asked a junior doctor to prescribe the drug.

Pathologist Professor Philip Batman told the court Bailey's cause of death was phenytoin toxicity complicated by his epilepsy. The inquest continues and is expected to finish later this week.

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