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Dudley mum slams hospital chiefs for drugs cover up following son's death
3:22pm Monday 16th December 2013 in News
A GRIEVING Dudley mum has slammed health bosses for covering up mistakes which may have caused her baby's death.
Tragic Joseph Wood was just two days old when he died after being diagnosed with poor feeding, breathlessness, a fast heart rate and low blood sugar.
He was born at Russells Hall Hospital and, during treatment for his illness at the hospital, was mistakenly given a drug which decreases blood flow, rather than one to open his heart valves.
Joseph’s devastated mother Angela Wood, aged 40, blasted hospital chiefs for not answering her questions about the blunder and how the hospital intends to prevent similar errors.
Angela Wood said: “We were absolutely horrified when we were told Joseph had been given the wrong drug but it was the fact we had to take legal action to get this information that we find so difficult to accept.
“We sat in a meeting with a number of people involved with Joseph’s care and we find it hard to believe that they could sit there and not say anything about a mistake they must have known about – it’s an insult.”
Joseph was born on January 14, 2010, as his condition worsened he was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for life-saving surgery but died just after his arrival.
His parents, who live in central Dudley with their two daughters, were not told he had been given Prostacyclin instead of Prostaglandin however following action by law firm Irwin Mitchell, Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS NHS Foundation Trust admitted breach of duty by administering the wrong medication.
The Trust has also paid out an undisclosed settlement to the family after Angela and Joseph’s father Michael both suffered acute stress and adjustment disorder in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Angela Wood said: “We just hope that systems have been improved to prevent the same error from happening again as we have had no proof from the Trust that this is the case. We hate to think another family could be at risk of the same horrific ordeal we have had to endure.
“Nothing can change what happened to Joseph. We just hope by bringing what happened to peoples’ attention it will help stop mistakes like this happening again.”
Paula Clark, chief executive at Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to offer our most sincere condolences to Michael and Angela Wood on the sad loss of their baby, Joseph. The care we provided fell below the standard expected.
“We now have a duty of candour to patients and carers when mistakes occur and we are ensuring we better communicate in these circumstances.
“We accept there were lessons to be learned to eliminate the risk of this happening again in the future. We have made the necessary changes in our medicines protocols to help ensure this never happens again.”
Caroline Stokes, from Irwin Mitchell, says there is no way of knowing if the drugs mix-up contributed to Joseph Wood’s death.
She said: “Understandably Joseph’s parents are incredibly angry that the hospital failed to provide the correct treatment to their son as he battled for his life. But it has been worsened by the fact the Trust failed to tell them about what happened and still has given no answers as to why it happened.”