Birmingham & Black Country

Alfie Podmore: Antibiotics 'might have saved' Birmingham boy

A toddler released from hospital with stomach medication would probably have lived if he had been given antibiotics, an inquest has heard.

Alfie Podmore, three, from Quinton, Birmingham, was sent home from nursery on 2 February with a temperature.

He was taken to Birmingham Children's Hospital after coughing up blood and was sent home with some antacids. The hospital said it was "truly sorry".

Birmingham coroner Aidan Cotter recorded a narrative verdict.

After his death, his mother, Abby Podmore, was held on suspicion of Alfie's murder. She was detained in a police cell for 24 hours before being released.

Alfie was found dead in his bed on 6 February, three days after he was taken to hospital, solicitors for the family said.

'State of shock'

A post-mortem examination found he died from natural causes.

Dr Phillip Cox, consultant paediatric pathologist, told the inquest that Alfie had about a pint of fluid on his chest and that if he had been given antibiotics he probably would have lived.

Birmingham Children's Hospital has previously admitted there was "more that we could have done to help Alfie".

Image caption Abby Podmore said she felt robbed of the chance to say goodbye to Alfie

A statement from Ms Podmore, 21, was read to the inquest by Mr Cotter.

Ms Podmore said a doctor at the hospital had told her that Alfie, who had a fever and shoulder pain, was suffering from a virus.

The inquest heard how after Alfie died, she was arrested on suspicion of his murder.

Commenting on her arrest, Ms Podmore said: "I was in a state of shock and didn't know what was going on."

She was prevented from seeing her son's body until 10 days after his death.

'Unimaginable distress'

She said: "Looking back, I feel I have been robbed of the chance to say goodbye to Alfie."

In a statement released after the inquest, Dr Vin Diwakar, chief medical officer at Birmingham Children's Hospital, said: "Thousands of clinical judgements are made in our hospital every day, and sometimes, when those judgements are wrong, it can lead to tragic consequences, as it did in the case of Alfie.

"We're truly sorry for the unimaginable distress the family have gone through and have ensured that the doctor concerned has been given additional support and supervision since the incident."

Tom Riis Bristow, the family's solicitor, said: "Today's inquest and the admission of liability by the trust as part of the civil claim has proved what Abby and her family believed all along - that Alfie's tragic death could so easily have been avoided if he had received proper medical care when he was taken to hospital."

He said Ms Podmore was still angry angry about the "heavy-handed way" in which the police handled the death.

She has made a formal complaint to the police, which is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

In a statement released in July, West Midlands Police said it had launched an internal investigation into the circumstances of the arrest.

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