Hampshire baby death inquiry reveals ‘20-year cover-up’ of mistakes by health workers
AN INDEPENDENT inquiry into the death of a premature baby from Hampshire has revealed a ‘20-year cover-up’ of mistakes by health workers.
Elizabeth Dixon died in 2001 of asphyxiation due to a blocked breathing tube shortly before her first birthday.
Dr Bill Kirkup, who was appointed by the government to review the case, said: ‘There were failures of care by every organisation that looked after her, none of which was admitted at the time, nor properly investigated then or later.
‘Instead, a cover-up began on the day that she died, propped up by denial and deception.’
The report claimed that Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, where Lizzie was born, initially failed to diagnose a tumour which probably led to brain damage and that her condition may have worsened due to mistakes at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which the report said ‘also arranged inadequate home care’.
Dr Kirkup added: ‘’There was clear evidence that some individuals have been persistently dishonest and this extended to formal statements to police and regulatory bodies.’
After hearing the outcome of the inquiry, the baby's parents, Anne and Graeme Dixon, from Church Crookham, said: ‘While we are pleased to see that some of the blatant lies, deception and cover-ups of mistakes and incompetence have been called out, we are disappointed that certain aspects of Lizzie's care and the cover-up have not been addressed.’
Commenting on the report, Dr Timothy Ho, medical director at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We welcome the publication of this report and would like once again to offer our sincere and heartfelt apologies to Elizabeth's family.
‘Our care for neonatal infants, our support for bereaved parents and how we investigate concerns have changed beyond recognition over the past 19 years, but we will carefully consider the report and its recommendations with a commitment to taking any action that is needed.’
A spokesman for Great Ormond Street Hospital said it was working to ‘identify the actions we need to take to learn from this case’.