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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Leicester Royal Infirmary's inexcusable delay over Dr Andrew Holton's wrong treatment that led to suffering and death for 3 year old Ryan Pitcher

BBC News reports that Leicester Royal Infirmary took years to apologise and admit responsibility for the death of 3 year old Ryan Pitcher. Dr Andrew Holton, a consultant paediatrician, misdiagnosed hundreds of children over 10 years at the hospital and was responsible for the "incorrect treatment" for epilepsy that Ryan received. His parents described Ryan as "like a zombie" on the medication he was prescribed.

Ryan died in 1997. Since then, we read in thisisleicestershire.co.uk, his "devastated family has told of a 12-year battle to find out why their young son died," and that, "Since then, an investigation has found Dr Holton had misdiagnosed 618 cases and put 500 children on the wrong doses of drugs."

"Compensation of around £3m has been paid by the trust to children wrongly diagnosed with epilepsy by Dr Holton."

I hope you will click on the links and read the articles. Severe and avoidable suffering was inflicted on hundreds of children because of the customary failure of the NHS to take complaints seriously and to act appropriately to save other patients from harm when grave medical mistakes are made. This shocking case reaffirms the low priority the NHS accords to patient safety. It routinely protects negligent/incompetent/ill-informed and frankly dangerous doctors, rather than protecting their innocent, suffering patients/victims.

This matter is a national scandal of which the NHS should be deeply ashamed.

(The drug that caused most damage to Ryan was sodium valproate, aka Epilim. Beware of this drug! Doctors do not seem to be very well-informed about its harmful side-effects.)