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Procedures 'not followed' in hospital death of boy (11)

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Paul and Pattie McElroy leaving the inquest into their son Stephen’s death

Paul and Pattie McElroy leaving the inquest into their son Stephen’s death

Stephen McElroy

Stephen McElroy

Paul and Pattie McElroy leaving the inquest into their son Stephen’s death

Proper medical procedures were not followed the day an 11-year-old boy died in hospital, a preliminary inquest was told yesterday.

Primary school pupil Stephen McElroy, from Co Down, passed away hours after he was discharged from Daisy Hill Hospital in March last year.

The football fanatic, from Ballyward near Castlewellan, fell ill and was taken to hospital by his parents, Paul and Pattie, on the evening of March 28.

The young boy was later allowed home, but his condition worsened and he was taken back to hospital, where he collapsed and later died.

At a preliminary inquest in Belfast yesterday, a lawyer for the family said there was a degree of confusion over the cause of the popular pupil's death, which arose from a bowel condition.

Barrister Thomas Fitzpatrick told the hearing that there was a number of concerns in the controversial case. Among them was an alleged failure to diagnose the child correctly.

Mr Fitzpatrick additionally highlighted a report that claimed there were issues over the availability of a middle-grade doctor, who "may have" diagnosed the boy correctly.

The hearing also heard that there was delay in placing the poorly child in a cubicle.

Mr Fitzpatrick told the hearing there was nothing in the report that indicated the proper processes that should have been followed on the day of the death were actually adhered to.

Coroner Joe McCrisken told the court he would discuss with his medical adviser whether to use an independent expert to review the case.

The coroner also asked Mr Fitzpatrick whether there were any civil proceedings. The barrister replied, "Not as yet".

Mr McCrisken told Stephen's parents: "If a mistake has been made, we need to be sure that another family does not to go through what you went through."

Stephen's family has set up a charity in memory of the sports fanatic, SMART (NI) - The Stephen McElroy Appreciation and Remembrance Team - which started earlier this year.

A full inquest into the death is expected to be held in September or October of this year.

Belfast Telegraph