Thursday, 1 October 2009

Leicester Royal Infirmary doctor misdiagnosed hundreds of children over a 10 year period

Hospital 'sorry' for boy's death

The parents of a three-year-old boy who died after being given the wrong medication have received an apology and compensation from a Leicester hospital.

Royal Infirmary bosses have admitted Ryan Pitcher received "incorrect treatment" for epilepsy from Dr Andrew Holton, which led to his death in 1997.

Dr Holton misdiagnosed hundreds of children over 10 years at the hospital.

Ryan's parents Simon and Diane said concerns about Dr Holton should have been investigated earlier.

His parents, of Heather, near Coalville, described Ryan as "like a zombie" on the medication he was prescribed.

Investigations by the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust found Dr Holton ignored the advice of other consultants, who said Ryan's dosage should be decreased.

Mother Diane said: "It's devastating really. How do you live with knowing someone's killed your child, made them suffer for years?"

A report by an independent NHS inquiry team in 2003 found complaints were first made about Dr Holton almost three years before he was suspended.

Fifty-two children died while Dr Holton was practising, but Ryan's is the first death linked to the consultant paediatrician's treatment.

'Landmark case'

He was allowed to retrain and is still working in medicine.

A hospital spokesman said: "Ryan's case was very complex and it was investigated extremely carefully.

"On the basis of expert evidence, the trust accepts that Ryan's treatment and medication were incorrect.

"The trust is deeply sorry for what has happened and has made an unreserved apology to Ryan's parents."

The amount of compensation agreed has not been disclosed. The trust declined to say how many other families affected had received compensation.

Robert Rose, the solicitor representing the family, said: "All the official reports that we've had up until today have indicated there were no causes for concern for those children that died whilst under the care of Dr Holton.

"This in a sense is a landmark case because it shows there are real causes for concern."

Source: BBC News