NHS Trust statement

Bristol Children's Hospital

The trust responsible for Bristol Children's Hospital have released a statement in relation to what happened. Here is their full response.

General Trust Statement

We have apologised unreservedly to Mr and Mrs Condon for the missed opportunities and failings in our care of their son Ben. We have also apologised for the quality of our communication and explanations to them about what happened to Ben, and for the further distress we have caused them as a result.

Clinicians and other staff have met with the family a number of times and we have reiterated our invitation to them, to meet with the Trust Chief Executive. We remain committed to working with Mr and Mrs Condon to answer their questions and are discussing with them the best way of achieving this though we have also signalled our recognition that they may have lost their confidence in us and we have therefore indicated routes of independent review.

Missed opportunities in care

Very sadly Ben died before we diagnosed a secondary infection. We have acknowledged that further tests on 16 April could have been done, although given the trend in the blood results we did have, it is unlikely that this would have changed the outcome for Ben.

We have also acknowledged that once antibiotics were prescribed, there was an unacceptable delay in their administration. We do not know if more timely administration of antibiotics would have altered the course of events. However, we are truly sorry for these missed opportunities and failings in care which have left Ben’s parents with a terrible uncertainty about whether more timely monitoring and treatment would have saved his life.

The Trust has investigated whether staff knowingly withheld or provided incorrect information to Mr and Mrs Condon and whilst we accept that incorrect information was given, we have concluded that there was no intention on the part of our staff to mislead. The doctors involved have engaged in a piece of reflective practice to ensure that they understand the factors that contributed to the error, including how they can ensure appropriate safeguards in the future to prevent such a thing happening again.

Tape recording

In response to the family’s specific query, we have investigated whether information about Ben’s care was deliberately withheld from Mr and Mrs Condon during the meeting of the 22nd July. This investigation concluded that there was no deliberate lack of openness on the part of staff.

We are awaiting the conclusion of a further review, to examine why staff proposed deleting part of a recording of the discussion in the recess with Mr and Mrs Condon and whether action is required by the Trust. We cannot comment further on this at this time but we apologise to Mr and Mrs Condon for the further distress we have caused them by this apparent betrayal of their trust.

Background info on tape recording

It is important to note that no recording was deleted. The Trust agreed with the Condon family that both the Trust and the family would record the meeting. Both recordings continued into the recess when discussion continued informally. When it was noticed that the recordings were continuing the Trust's was stopped and the family's continued.

When the family came back into the room the Trust manager explained to them that discussion had continued while they were out of the room, apologised for this and assured them that the discussion that was on the Trust recording would be transcribed and sent to them. This happened and a full transcript of what was on the Trust recording was shared openly with the family.