Four-day-old baby died from sepsis after midwives acted too slowly and doctor gave paracetamol instead of antibiotics, coroner says
A four-day-old baby died with sepsis after midwives acted too slowly and a doctor gave him paracetamol instead of antibiotics, a coroner has ruled.
Harvey Nicholson died from hypoxia (oxygen starvation) which came on after he developed sepsis after he was born in August 2019.
He was born at Hull Royal Infirmary (HRI) on August 23, to parents Sonia Brice and James Nicholson, and later transferred to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester for specialist care where he tragically passed away.
Harvey Nicholson died from hypoxia (oxygen starvation) which came on after he developed sepsis after he was born in August 2019 at Hull Royal Infirmary (pictured)
The inquest hearing at Hull Coroners Court earlier this month found HRI’s midwife team failed to respond to his sepsis quickly enough, and then subsequent inspection from a paediatric doctor failed to recognise his symptoms.
Doctors prescribed Harvey paracetamol when he should have been given antibiotics, it was found.
During the hearing, several failings were identified by the coroner where HRI staff gave inadequate care for Harvey.
Staff failed to pick up on Sonia’s history of UTIs during her pregnancy as well as the presence of GBS – a type of bacteria.
As a result, doctors did not give her antibiotics, the inquest heard. The midwife also didn’t screen Harvey after his birth for sepsis.
He was born at Hull Royal Infirmary (pictured) on August 23, to parents Sonia Brice and James Nicholson, and later transferred to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester for specialist care where he tragically passed away
‘Had all the available information been collated correctly on balance it is likely to have led to the administration of broad spectrum antibiotics to Harvey within an hour of his birth,’ Coroner Lorraine Harris’ report said.
‘However, there was no risk assessment or neonatal sepsis screen. The administration of antibiotics within an hour of birth, could have altered the outcome.’
Harvey’s blood infection, combined with him likely breathing in meconium (newborn faeces) during labour, led to severe hypoxia, the report added, which caused his brain and liver to become oxygen starved.
Ms Harris concluded: ‘His death was contributed to by neglect.’
A spokeswoman for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: ‘We are deeply sorry about the mistakes we made which led to Harvey’s death. We accept Harvey would not have died if we had followed the correct procedure.
‘We have apologised to Harvey’s family and repeat that apology again today to them and all who loved Harvey.
‘Harvey’s death is the subject of further legal action so we are limited in what we can say at this stage.
‘However, we would like to underline our evidence to the inquest that we have made significant changes to our procedures and processes to prevent a repeat of similar mistakes in the future.’