North East Wales

Toddler's virus death 'not predictable,' consultant says

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Media captionNoah's mother Samantha Davies was told she could not have done more to help her son

The death of a toddler who died from a respiratory virus after seeing GPs 30 times could not have been prevented or predicted, his inquest heard.

Noah Edwards, 14 months, of Denbigh, died in October 2012 after repeated visits to hospital and his GP surgery.

A former consultant at Alder Hey Children's Hospital respiratory unit told the Ruthin hearing medics there would have done "much the same".

Coroner John Gittins recorded a verdict of natural causes.

Noah's mother Samantha Davies had been right to take her son repeatedly to the doctors due to his illnesses, Mr Gittins said.

Image copyright Daily Post
Image caption Samantha Davies felt she was being a nuisance at the surgery but knew something was wrong

But the coroner for North Wales East and Central added that the expert evidence from Dr Jonathan Couriel, of Alder Hey, had reassured him that though what happened to Noah was rare, it was not so rare that it is never seen.

'Failed'

Ms Davies told the inquest that she was frustrated with the care her son received.

She claims doctors failed to "think outside the box" when treating him.

But Dr Ravi Moodlebyle, from the Denbigh practice, said it was difficult to say what else could have been done, especially in the early months.

Asked about the virus human metapneumovirus or HMPV by the coroner, Dr Moodlebyle said he had heard of it but had no specific knowledge of it.

But he said that following Noah's death, changes had been made at the Bronffynnon surgery.

Dr Moodlebyle said he had become more and more concerned about the number of upper and lower respiratory tract infections Noah presented with and the severity of them.

Noah developed a runny nose shortly after he was born and when he was just a few weeks old he developed a cough, fever and eczema.

'Frustration'

He struggled to breath at night and had adopted a way of sleeping "on all fours" to aid his breathing, the inquest heard.

Ms Davies took him to see doctors 30 times about his condition and told the inquest she would sometimes leave the Bronffynon surgery in tears of frustration over his condition.

She said he felt she was being a nuisance at the surgery, adding: "I felt I was being a hypochondriac, but I knew something was seriously wrong."

By October 2012, Ms Davies became so concerned about her son that she requested a referral to Alder Hey in Liverpool.

But Noah died on 12 October before his appointment.

Consultant paediatric pathologist Dr Jo McPartland told the inquest his death was caused by the virus human metapneumovirus or HMPV, which attacks the respiratory system.

'Dreadful'

Speaking after the inquest, Ms Davies said that it had been important for her to hear the evidence and she hoped it would help other parents learn about the dangers of viruses.

She said: "I did my best and so did the doctors, and hospitals and so now he can finally rest in peace."

Noah's grandmother Glenys said it was a "dreadful, dreadful virus that takes a baby very suddenly".