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Manchester hospital delays 'contributed to boy's death' inquest hears

North Manchester General Hospital seen from the outside
Joel collapsed at home and was taken to North Manchester General Hospital

Delays in the treatment of a boy who died from cardiorespiratory failure contributed to his death, a coroner has concluded.

Joel Rawlinson was admitted to North Manchester General Hospital on 29 December 2019 after he collapsed.

The 12-year-old had had heart surgery two weeks after he was born but lived a normal life since then.

The "biggest issue" was failing to recognise how unwell Joel was, the inquest heard.

Coroner Paul Appleton heard evidence about the case at Manchester Coroner's Court on Monday.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Graham Mason, who reviewed the care given to Joel, told the court that on the balance of probability the boy, who had collapsed at his home in Middleton, would have survived if the failings had not happened.

He said there was a "failure to recognise the seriousness of (Joel's) illness and escalate appropriately" adding "crucially that is the biggest issue".

Manchester Coroner's Court also heard there was a delay in the attendance of a consultant in person and subsequent delays in transferring Joel to Manchester Children's Hospital.

He died the next day at Alder Hey Children's hospital in Liverpool.

He had been transferred there after doctors at Manchester Children's Hospital recognised he had suffered a ruptured aorta, leading to cardiorespiratory failure.

Dr Mason added there was a "significant amount of focus around a potential diagnosis rather than recognising how severely unwell he was".

'Could have survived'

Mr Appleton was also told on Monday that Joel's blood pressure was low and not responding to efforts to increase it.

Dr Mason said there should have been further escalation at this point as "low blood pressure can reflect serious illness… in Joel's case we now know there was a rupture to the right atrium".

When asked by coroner, Paul Appleton, about the impacts of the delays during Joel's care, Dr Mason said: "On balance of probabilities he would have survived if all of the steps had been taken more quickly."


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