Harris James' Family to be Compensated By Hospital

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The trust of the James Paget University Hospital in Norfolk has been made to pay a family £15,000 after a number of “serious failings” by doctors which lead to the baby’s death.

Harris James had been admitted to Gorleston Hospital on 2 November 2015 after a referral from his GP. He had been losing weight as a result of Gastroenteritis but was simply given an appointment with a dietician for four weeks later. However, on 12 November he became ‘floppy’ and vomited, and as a result, was taken to the trust’s A&E Department.

Harris James' Family To Be Compensated
Baby Harris. Source: Harris James' Family

Following scans, it was discovered that his right lung had changed and part of his left lung had begun to fill with fluid. It was therefore suspected by staff that he had sepsis and there was a chance he also had aspiration pneumonia. To try and treat his symptoms, baby Harris was transferred to a paediatric unit, but his condition continued to worsen, then, on the next day, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

A report by the ombudsman concluded that there had been a failure to act on the scans taken by the hospital, as well as failing to consider the baby’s symptoms and medical history. Other failures came in the form of a failure to ask for specialist input regarding the case, and a failure to escalate care when his condition worsened. This list of failures resulted in the report ultimately concluding “more likely than not that his death would have been avoided” had the child received the appropriate care. The report additionally found that mistakes had been made surrounding the handling of his mother’s complaint, whilst also failing to properly investigate the death which came as a result of the hospital treating Harris for Pneumonia when he had a heart condition.

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The hospital has since apologised to the family for the events and has additionally been ordered to pay the family £15,000 in compensation. But, somewhat understandably, the family has expressed that “We won’t ever be able to forgive James Paget Hospital for its failings, nor will we forget the additional pain caused by its mishandling of our complaint.”

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