Inquest jury finds baby Olly Stopforth died after 'inadequate care' at Countess of Chester Hospital

Video report by correspondent Rob Smith

An inquest jury has concluded a 15-month-old baby boy died after receiving “inadequate” care at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

The court heard Olly Stopforth was found dead in his bedroom in Frodsham in Cheshire in 2020, less than 48 hours after being discharged from hospital.

He died from an invasive bacterial infection leading to sepsis, but he was not tested for infection as doctors believed he had a viral illness.

His parents solicitor Diane Rostron said: "Olly was failed by all doctors at all levels".

Speaking outside Cheshire Coroner's Court, Ms Rostron said Olly's parents were grateful to the coroner for her opinion expressed in court that "Olly was grossly neglected".

"Senior doctors could not see what was staring them in the face, Scarlett Fever".

She added: "His precious life mattered and his parents are forever heartbroken at the loss of their beautiful boy".

Ms Rostron said: "Olly was not given basic medical attention, or regarded as important. He was not kept safe".

The jury was told that had tests for infection been done, Olly’s survival would have been “highly likely.”

The inquuest heard how Olly had a very high temperature, very high heart rate, difficulties in breathing and a rash on his body.

Dr Mary Montgomery a consultant paediatrician, asked to review the case for the coroner said that there were 'missed opportunities'.

A jury at a coroner’s court heard Olly had a very high temperature, very high heart rate, difficulties in breathing and a rash on his body. Credit: Family picture

Paediatric Registrar Dr Kieran McCarthy, who discharged Olly from hospital in the middle of the night, apologised to the toddler’s parents in the court.

In an earlier appearance, he said: "I know it means nothing now but I’m sorry."

Dr McCarthy said he wished that things could have been different but told the inquest jury that his assessment of baby Oliver was not as hands-on or as thorough as it should have been.

He described it as not his "normal assessment" but more of an "end of the bed one".

Dr McCarthy said it was at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, and the department was busy with staff trying to restrict physical contact.

The doctors and nurses involved in Olly’s care that day failed to realise and act on the seriousness of his condition.

His medical notes recorded that he was bright and not working hard to breathe normally, which the family disputed.

Olly Stopforth died after receiving 'inadequate care' and 'missed opportunities' in this treatment Credit: Family picture

Olly's mum Laura Stopforth, from Frodsham, Cheshire, told the inquest. "Olly was such a lively, energetic, happy boy and a lovely younger brother to our eight year old son Finley who desperately misses him.

"I cannot describe the trauma and disbelief that followed finding our baby boy Olly had passed away in his sleep less than 48 hours after being discharged with what we were led to believe was something relatively minor.

"Finley does not understand why his little brother is no longer with us. He regularly tells us that he feels lonely and is being provided with counselling support in school.

"This should not have happened. The medical staff simply didn’t seem interested in finding out what was really happening to Olly and our little boy has lost his life as a result."

Countess of Chester said 'more investigations should have been done while Olly was in their care' Credit: ITV Granada

Dr Nigel Scawn, Medical Director at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On behalf of the Trust I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Olly’s family. We appreciate that any inquest is incredibly difficult for the loved ones involved.

“More investigations should have been done while Olly was in our care to fully diagnose and treat the underlying cause of his illness. The Trust has considered this in detail, and lessons have already been learned as a result. 

“We have further embedded Local and National Guidelines in our work to help staff better identify and treat sepsis, including how to recognise when to administer antibiotics if sepsis is suspected.”

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