Hospital denies alleged cover-up of mistakes that led to toddler’s death
- Credit: Archant
The chief executive of a hospital accused of covering up mistakes that led to the death of a toddler has strongly refuted the claims.
Jasmine Hughes, who lived in Hitchin with parents Joanne and Jeff, died at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in February 2011, one month after she was first admitted to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital with a suspected post-viral condition.
The coroner attributed her death to complications from acute disseminated encephalomyelitis – inflammation of the brain and spinal cord – but her parents have spent almost a decade fighting to uncover the events leading up to her death, convinced of medical negligence.
Analysis of hospital records by medical experts has concluded that mismanagement of Jasmine’s blood pressure at both hospitals – spiking when she was treated with steroids then allowed to fall too fast - led to her death.
These experts also say crucial information about Jasmine’s blood pressure was not included in her records, with Doctor Malcolm Coulthard, specialist in child blood pressure and medical examination, suggesting to national press that the records “may have been deliberately removed or tampered with”.
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GOSH chief executive Matthew Shaw said: “We are shocked and disappointed at the allegations from Doctor Coulthard and we categorically deny there was any attempt of a cover up. Despite asking, we have yet to see any evidence to support these claims.
“While we have found inconsistencies between the information provided at different times, we have found absolutely no evidence that documents were wilfully withheld or removed.”
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Chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust, Nick Carver, said: “Supported by independent experts, we completed an investigation into Jasmine’s care at Lister, which identified learning and improvements that are now embedded. We take any allegations of this kind very seriously and will act accordingly on any evidence presented to us.”
Joanne said: “When the worst imaginable tragedy befell us, we needed truth and care. We had neither. For nearly a decade we’ve been uncovering the lies and piecing together the truth. We should never have had to do that ‘work’ on top of learning how to cope without her.
“Sleep tight my beautiful angel. Mummy never gave up on getting the truth you deserve, and isn’t finished yet.”