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On the 21st January 2018 at 5pm, Jake Stanley aged 3 years old was taken to Whiston Hospital in Merseyside following a seizure that he had at home. Whilst travelling to the hospital, Jake suffered another seizure and was attached to a ventilator a short time later. Jake had stopped fitting at this time.

A staff nurse had prepared an injection of undiluted phenytoin (anti-seizure medication) whilst Dr Thomas Whitby was out of the room, failing to label it.

The coroner’s inquest was told that Dr Whitby believed that the staff nurse had prepared the correct dosage, intending to stop any further fits. Jake was injected with the full dosage by Dr Whitby at 6.30pm and went into cardiac arrest immediately. Jake was unfortunately pronounced dead at 7.16pm.

The inquest heard that the post-mortem report by the forensic experts found that Jake had been given an overdose of phenytoin. The overdose was reported to be seven times of the intended dose, consistent with Jake’s death.

The senior coroner Christopher Summer said “There was a total breakdown in communication in the period that Jake received the drug and confusion as to dosage, concentration and means of administering it, amounting to neglect.”

Summer concluded that the “Hospital protocols were breached, causing the overdose and subsequent death of Jake. By his own admission, nurse Mulcahy did not follow protocols and have another nurse check the contents of the syringe, an omission [made], it would appear, not for the first time.”

At the end of the inquest, Summer stated that medicine protocols had not been followed. The hospital trust has carried out an investigation into this matter and concluded that the professionals were negligent.

Ramsdens Solicitors are currently supporting families who unfortunately, as a result of negligent conduct, have lost their loved ones. If you or someone you love has been a victim of medical negligence please contact the Clinical Negligence team at Ramsdens for a free of charge and confidential discussion.