Serious concerns persist over misdiagnosis of sepsis and the information provided to parents

Benjamin Condon died from infection leading to a cardiac arrest at Bristol Children's Hospital on 17 April 2015. He had been admitted with what was diagnosed as a common cold and deteriorated over several days, with hospital staff failing to administer antibiotics until his final hours.

Following Ben's death, his parents met with senior staff at the Trust several times, being told that he had died from the initial cold virus. However, in a meeting weeks after his death, they were told about the secondary infection for the first time.

The meeting was recorded by the family and the Trust, with one section of the family's recording revealing Trust staff conceding that there may have been failures in Ben's care and then discussing deleting the recording.

An Inquest before the Coroner for Avon is due to be listed in early 2016. The Trust is conducting an internal investigation into the allegations of a cover-up.

Media coverage

The story has been widely reported in the national and regional press, including front page coverage in the Mail on Sunday:

Mail on Sunday

Mail on Sunday Comment

Bristol Post

Western Daily Press

The duty of candour

Laurence Vick of Michelmores, the family's solicitor, has expressed concerns about the implications of the Trust's reported behaviour.

'Our thoughts are with Allyn and Jenny in this difficult time,' he says. 'Their grieving process has been dragged out even further by what, on any view, has been a deeply unsatisfactory approach by the Trust following Ben's death.

'The family has fought tenaciously for answers, which is not something that grieving parents should have to do.

'At the time of Ben's death, the statutory duty of candour on healthcare providers had already been in force for around six months. Legally, therefore, the Trust was obliged to be frank and open where harm has been caused, with criminal implications for the breach of this duty. For Benjamin's parents to have to wait for so long for any meaningful answers about their son's treatment and death is a worrying indication as to how the duty is being fulfilled; the fact that there are allegations of deliberate concealment make this even more serious.'