Grieving parents pledge their help

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THE parents of a toddler who died due to a hospital blunder have offered their help to improve paediatric care for other children.

Grief-stricken Simon Elcock and Kirstin McIntosh listened last week as an inquest heard how their 13-month-old daughter’s death could have been prevented.

Little Mia Elcock was taken to Milton Keynes hospital in September last year suffering shortness of breath and a racing heart.

Because A&E was partially closed due to flooding she was admitted to the paediatric unit and treated for pneumonia.

Five and a half hours later she died of acute heart failure.

Doctors, who had not put her on a heart monitor, had failed to detect a bacterial growth on her heart. Though very rare, the growth could have been removed by surgery and Mia could have lived, the inquest heard.

Coroner Tom Osborne criticised the “clear failure” of doctors and nurses and ordered a thorough review of the hospital’s paediatric care for seriously ill children.

He is demanding to know what improvements have been made as a result of Mia’s death, which came just nine months after fierce criticism from an inquest into another young patient, five-year-old Harry Mould,

Harry, admitted with an asthma attack, died after “gross failures” and neglect by hospital staff, the coroner ruled at the time.

In a statement the hospital’s medical director Martin Wetherill described Mia’s death as “devastating” and insists many improvements have already been made as a result.

“We’ve had more than £750,000 spent on improving the nursing, improved monitoring equipment for high dependency beds, meaning those beds are available for very sick children and one-to-one nursing.”

He described Mia’s condition as “incredibly rare and unpredictable,” and said: “I’d love to be able to say that we will never have another child die in this hospital, but I cannot say this because many cases are unpredictable.”

Simon and Kirsten, who previously found the hospital “unwilling” to listen to their comments, are now hoping to help in the improvement campaign from the point of view of ‘paediatric’ parents.

“Simply put, we wish to prevent future unnecessary child (and adult) deaths occurring at MK hospital,” they said.