'Whirlwind' Hampshire toddler's family raise £6,500 in his memory after 'perfect' boy dies aged three

A FUN and mischievous toddler’s parents have raised thousands of pounds in his memory after he died from a twisted bowel caused by an extremely rare condition.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 12:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 2:22 pm

Three-year-old Max Ferrand has been remembered as a ‘little whirlwind’ who made his family ‘laugh, think, cry’ and who was a ‘perfect’ middle sibling.

Parents Brett and Leanne Ferrand have raised £6,570 for play equipment since he died just four days before his birthday on February 4, 2020.

In a statement read at his inquest on Tuesday, they said: ‘He was an incredible boy, our little whirlwind of fun and affection who was the perfect middle to our trio.

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Max Ferrand, who died in February 2020 aged three. Picture: Family

‘He made us laugh, think, cry and had the most beautiful smile.’

Max was a little brother to Toby, eight, and an ‘idol’ to his younger sister three-year-old Phoebe, the family said.

He was ‘very affectionate’ and had friends at nursery, and loved getting up to ‘mischief’.

Mum Leanne, 37, told The News: ‘We do still plan to buy play equipment and as Covid restrictions ease we hope to liaise with Max’s nursery as well as with some other places to get the ball rolling with getting these things in place.

Max Ferrand, three, pictured in his mum Leanne Ferrand's arms with his dad Brett Ferrand, brother Toby and sister Phoebe. Picture: Cherry Blossom Photography

‘We hope this will help other children make memories to go with all the ones we were lucky to have made with our incredible boy.’

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It comes as Winchester Coroner’s Court heard little Max collapsed at home following a bout of vomiting for which his parents had sought medical help.

The youngster had been diagnosed with cyclical vomiting syndrome, repeated episodes of sickness, in January 2019 following a GP referral to a consultant paediatrician at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Max Ferrand pictured holding his older brother Toby's hand, with his mum and dad Leanne and Brett Ferrand, and sister Phoebe. Picture: Family

Mum Leanne said his diagnosis ‘had lulled us into a false sense of security’ thinking it would improve with time. But she added it was hard to judge now with hindsight.

The inquest heard Max was unwell on February 2 and 3, and collapsed at home with his mum calling 999 at 12.10am on February 4.

He was taken to A&E at QA Hospital but medics were unable to revive him, with his death recorded at 12.53am.

Dr Samantha Holden, who as consultant paediatric pathologist carried out a post mortem, said Max had a ‘quite substantial’ mass called a mesenteric lymphangioma. This caused a twisted bowel, known as a volvulus.

Max Ferrand, who died in February 2020 aged three. Picture: Family

This accounted for his vomiting and collapse, the pathologist said.

‘It’s possible this twisting had happened before but I can’t say this for definite,’ Dr Holden added.

In the 36 hours before his death his parents had tried to give him water via a syringe at home in Sarisbury Green.

Their care was ‘completely appropriate,’ said Dr Simon Birch, who saw a ‘playful’ Max in January 2019, diagnosed him with the syndrome and discharged him back to his GP’s care.

Leanne said when Max had been sick in the past he would have some pain before vomiting but would ‘bounce back quite quickly once he’d slept it off a bit’.

Max Ferrand, who died in February 2020 aged three. Picture: Family

Max would say ‘my tummy, my tummy,’ as he grew older and his language skills developed.

The inquest heard just one in 250,000 people have the growth Max had.

‘It’s very likely that a paediatrician will never see one in their career,’ said QA Hospital consultant paediatrician Dr Birch said.

Recording a narrative conclusion, area coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp said: ‘The conclusion is that Max Ferrand was diagnosed with cyclical vomiting by a consultant paediatrician in January 2019.

‘He died on February 4, 2020 from a volvulus (twisted) small intestine associated with a mesenteric lymphangioma.

‘It’s possible that this was in fact the cause of his previous symptoms and that an earlier diagnosis may have prevented his tragic death.

‘However, it’s not standard practice to carry out further investigations in the diagnosis of cyclical vomiting syndrome.’

Expert Nitin Patwardhan said the lymphangioma would have been present in Max from birth, and grew as he did.

The Leicester-based consultant paediatric surgeon, who provided a report after the toddler’s death, said a contrast study could have led to an ultrasound being carried out.

The study involves a patient swallowing barium dye with x-rays repeatedly taken to see how it flows through the body.

Mr Patwardhan said ‘it may have picked up softer signs that something else was going on and could have led to further investigations’ including an ultrasound.

But Dr Birch told the inquest: ‘There was nothing to lead us down that chain.’

He said: ‘I wouldn’t have done anything differently.’

No change in practices have been suggested, QA Hospital’s head of legal services Jacqueline Haines said.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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