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Health board apologises to family of Thomas Smith

Cwm Taf University Health Board has apologised after '*gross failures' were made at one of its hospitals *when a 13-year-old boy died whilst suffering with meningitis.

Allison Williams, Chief Executive at the health board said:

“I would like to extend my sincere apologies to the parents of Thomas George Smith for the loss of their son.“This is an extremely sad case and we deeply regret that there were failings in the care that Thomas received whilst at Prince Charles Hospital.

“As noted during the inquest, the Health Board undertook an investigation which identified lessons learned and recommendations to ensure this will never happen again.

“A number of changes have already been made to address the failings identified.

“Following the conclusion of the inquest, the Health Board will now consider the Coroner’s findings and continue to implement the changes required to address any failings in service.”

Hospital made 'gross failures' over death of schoolboy

A Merthyr hospital made 'gross failures' over the death of a schoolboy who was given headache tablets instead of antibiotics for meningitis, a coroner has ruled.

13-year-old Thomas Smith died in May 2013 Credit: Wales News

Talented football player Thomas Smith, from Hednesford in Staffordshire was taken to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil complaining of six tell-tale signs of meningitis including a headache and a stiff neck.

An inquest heard doctors failed to diagnose the illness and start treatment with antibiotics for more than four hours. Thomas, who had been on a family holiday to Wales, never recovered from the infection and later died at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff on his birthday.

A coroner has now criticised the hospital, for failing the schoolboy in their duty of care.

Coroner Christopher Woolley said:

"The failure to administer antibiotics does amount to a gross failure of care.

"Antibiotics should have been given without delay.

"Where meningitis is suspected, it's essential antibiotics are given immediately. The need for basic medical attention in this form was obvious."

Mr Woolley said he was concerned about 'further deaths' at Prince Charles Hospital and ordered a report.

But he said it was not a case of 'neglect' and even if Thomas had been given antibiotics he would probably have still died.He recorded a conclusion of natural causes.

Hospital staff suspended after elderly patient death

An 88-year-old woman sustained injuries at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon last week Credit: Cwm Taf University Health Board

Ten members of staff have been suspended after the death of an elderly woman.

The 88-year-old woman died at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil today after suffering an "unexplained and serious injury" at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon in Mountain Ash last Thursday.

Cwm Taf University Health Board say the staff were on duty the night before and the morning after the injuries were sustained. It added the suspensions are a "precautionary measure".

South Wales Police say they are investigating and four people are assisting officers with their enquiries.

A spokesperson for Cwm Taf University Health Board said:

'On Thursday morning, as part of routine patient care, a patient at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon was identified as having an unexplained injury.

'Appropriate arrangements were made for transfer to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil. As is always the case in such a situation, the Health Board initiated a multi-agency strategy meeting to be held to consider the circumstances. This took place the following day.

'Staff on duty at the time are in the process of being interviewed to assist the investigation and the family have been kept fully informed of the situation.'

The health board added it has not made any link between the patient's injuries and her death.

A post-mortem is due to take place tomorrow.