Devon

Plymouth boy's death 'completely avoidable', inquest told

Sebastian Hibberd Image copyright Family picture
Image caption Sebastian died of intussusception, when one part of the bowel telescopes into the next

A six-year-old boy's death was "completely avoidable" and a result of "individual and organisational failings" by the NHS, an inquest heard.

Sebastian Hibberd from Plymouth was taken to hospital on 12 October 2015 after 48 hours of retching.

His father Russell told the inquest he had made repeated calls to NHS 111 and his GP surgery asking for help.

However, Sebastian died about 20 minutes after arriving at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

NHS 111 had "failed to recognise the symptoms and no action was taken", Mr Hibberd said.

Sebastian died of intussusception, when one part of the bowel telescopes into the next, a post-mortem examination concluded.

Image copyright Family picture
Image caption Sebastian died about 20 minutes after arriving at hospital

Sebastian became ill on 10 October and began vomiting once an hour, Mr Hibberd told the inquest.

He said at 08:00 on 12 October he called Glenside Medical Centre in Plympton, but got an answer machine saying it was closed until 08:30, with advice to call NHS 111.

Mr Hibberd then called 111 and was told to speak to a GP at the clinic within six hours, he said.

He told the court he got through to Glenside's reception later and was told he could speak to a doctor on the phone in the afternoon.

The receptionist told the inquest she had passed a note to duty doctor Daniel Fay that she could hear Sebastian moaning in the background during the call.

Mr Hibberd said he had called NHS 111 five times and got the same advice to speak to a GP, until he said his son's vomit turned green and he was then told an ambulance was on its way.

Sebastian died at 15:21, about 20 minutes after arriving at Derriford Hospital.

Mr Hibberd blamed "individual and organisational failings" for his son's death, which he said was "completely avoidable".

Dr Fay told the inquest that "big changes" to out-of-hours and child sickness calls had been made at the clinic since Sebastian's death.

"I wish I had taken more notice of the note which said Sebastian was moaning," he said. "I did not take the call as soon as I would have wished."

The inquest continues.

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