Consultant admits to gap in toddler’s care at Queen Alexandra Hospital

INQUEST Anabelle Shepherd
INQUEST Anabelle Shepherd

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A consultant paediatrician from Queen Alexandra Hospital has admitted there was a gap in the care of a toddler who died on Christmas Day last year.

Dr Simon Birch has this morning been giving evidence at an inquest into the death of 22-month-old Anabelle Shepherd, of Bath Road, Southsea.

She was taken to the Cosham hospital by her parents Lee and Leanne on December 23 after becoming lethargic. She had, four months previously, had a bone marrow transplant to treat the genetic condition Hurler’s Syndrome.

The family is being represented by John White, clinical negligence specialist from Blake Lapthorn solicitors, who questioned Dr Birch during this morning’s session at Hulse Road police station in Southampton.

When asked by Mr White if there had been a gap in the hospital’s service to Anabelle, Dr Birch said: ‘Yes, I would say that.’

Anabelle’s parents say their daughter was not treated adequately by QA, and her background health problems were not taken into consideration - something the hospital denies.

They say an incorrect diagnosis of gastroenteritis, and a treatment with oral rather than intraveinous antibiotics, meant her condition deteriorated, leading to a seizure and a transfer to the paediatric intensive care unit at Southampton General Hospital, where she died.

In a statement read out at the inquest, her parents said she should have had more basic tests and been seen more regularly.

Earlier in his evidence, Dr Birch agreed. He said: ‘Although we’re still not sure if it would have altered the outcome, it would at least have given more complete picture in Anabelle’s case.’

At the end of his statement, Anabelle’s dad, Lee, said: ‘We are absolutely heart broken and distraught by Anabelle’s death, and not a moment goes by without the thought of seeing her little face again.’

The inquest continues.