Doctor's sorrow for Bailey Ratcliffe's death

  • Published

A hospital doctor expressed sorrow in court to the family of a five-year-old boy who died in West Yorkshire from an overdose of an epilepsy drug.

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.

Dr Moore said she made a mistake with his emergency medication.

Bailey, who was epileptic, died at Dewsbury and District Hospital in 2009 after arriving suffering with a fit.

He was brought into the hospital's accident and emergency department.

Bradford Coroner's Court heard how Bailey was given the drug phenytoin on the orders of Dr Moore, who was a paediatric registrar called to help.

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."

Dosage instructions

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

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

Dr Moore described how she 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.

The doctor admitted she made a mistake in the dosage instructions when she asked a junior doctor to prescribe the drug.

The court heard how Bailey was transferred to a paediatric ward in the hospital but later that afternoon began to deteriorate and stopped breathing.

A full resuscitation team could not save his life.

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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