Bristol Children's hospital criticised at inquest over death of three year old patient

Laurence Vick, Head of Michelmores Medical Negligence Team, is representing the family of Samuel Starr, a three year old boy who died following a computer glitch which meant follow-up appointments were not scheduled after his heart operation at Bristol Children's Hospital.

Samuel Starr underwent heart surgery at nine months old at the hospital and was recovering, but a new computer system at the Royal United in Bath failed to allocate follow-up appointment slots for him and he did not receive follow-up treatment for 20 months.

When Samuel Starr was finally seen he needed another operation but during this suffered complications. Samuel's parents, Catherine Holley and Paul Starr, were advised to stop the treatment and Samuel died the same day in his parent's arms.

Holley told the inquest how Samuel deteriorated from a "happy and healthy" boy after the second operation in 2012.

Samuel's inquest is the fourth in a series of hearings examining the deaths of young heart patients at hospitals in Bristol.

Laurence Vick said the inquests so far had shown a "worrying trend of poor communication and human error."

"In addition to the shortcomings in his care, the failure of the computer appointment systems at Bath is of particular concern. The flawed system meant that he effectively dropped off the appointments list.

"This was compounded by the failure at Bristol to address the appointment errors. You have to wonder how there could be such a lack of safeguards that Samuel was allowed to deteriorate unmonitored, over such a long time."

The inquest into Samuel's death continues.

As featured in The Guardian and the Mirror.