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Children’s hospital ‘covered up mistakes that led to toddler’s death’

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A world-leading children’s hospital has been accused of a “concerted effort” to cover up the mistakes that led to the death of a toddler.

Jasmine Hughes died at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital aged 20 months after suffering acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a condition in which the brain and spinal cord are inflamed following a viral infection.

Doctors said that her death in February 2011 had been caused by complications of ADEM. But an analysis of detailed hospital computer records shows the toddler died after her blood pressure was mismanaged – spiking when she was treated with steroids then allowed to fall too fast. Experts say this led to catastrophic brain damage. 

Although the detailed computer records were supplied to the coroner who carried out Jasmine’s inquest, crucial information concerning her blood pressure was not included in official medical records that should hold the patient’s entire clinical history.  

Dr Malcolm Coulthard, who specialises in child blood pressure and medical records examination, carried out the analysis of the files, comprising more than 350 pages of spreadsheets. Dr Stephen Playfor, a paediatric intensive care consultant, examined the computer records and came to the same conclusion as Dr Coulthard, that mismanagement of Jasmine’s blood pressure by Great Ormond Street and Lister Hospital, in Stevenage, was responsible for her death.

Dr Coulthard told The Independent: “As a specialist paediatrician, it is with great regret and disappointment that I have concluded that the doctors' records in Jasmine Hughes’ medical notes fail to reflect the truth about her diagnosis and treatment.”

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Source: The Independent, 20 November 2020

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