Missed opportunities at Northampton General Hospital contributed to tragic death of 9-month-old baby

25 January 2024

An inquest in January 2024, found that nine-month-old baby, Iona Grace Buckingham, died due to complications at Northampton General Hospital.

An inquest in January 2024, which was overseen by Jonathan Dixey, assistant coroner, investigated the death of a nine-month-old baby, Iona Grace Buckingham. She passed away due to complications from bronchiolitis (chest infection) at Northampton General Hospital in 2022.

Mr Dixey found there were missed opportunities to administer antibiotics and to carry out an x-ray. It was revealed that Northampton General Hospital does not have access to a paediatric radiologist outside of 9am-5pm on Mondays and Fridays. This raised concerns with the coroner, as it could have fatal consequences for unwell babies and children. This has subsequently been escalated to NHS Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board and to NHS England.

Following the inquest, the coroner issued a Prevention of Future Deaths Report. This means the coroner has highlighted concerns and asked the hospital to address them and put in place procedures or changes that deal with his concerns. The hospital is currently reviewing the coroner's recommendations and is due to respond by 8 March 2024.

Shoosmiths Serious Injury team is regularly instructed to investigate claims against Northampton General Hospital, in respect of the care and treatment of babies and children, which has caused devastating and irreversible damage. Recently, one such case where we represented our client at inquest, which was also recently investigated by Mr Dixey, showed that there was a lack of medical staff and there was also a delay in the obstetrician arranging an earlier caesarean section, especially as the CTG results were abnormal. He concluded that these errors caused the death of the baby.

Mr Dixey said, “It is vitally important that babies in this situation, receive more appropriate care and that this is not repeated again.” We are currently investigating a medical negligence claim on behalf of our client.

Medical negligence specialist, Sarah Harper comments:

“Time and time again we hear these devastating stories, which simply should not be happening. Parents should feel that their children are safe in hospital and are being looked after in the best possible way. To hear that specialists are only available in office hours is shocking and pathetic. Sadly, I have seen many cases like this over the years and the situation is not improving.”



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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