Laurence Vick
Posted on 26 Feb 2014

Rohan Rhodes Inquest Concludes

Inquest into baby's death at St Michael's Hospital, Bristol

The inquest into the death of Rohan Rhodes has concluded, with the coroner finding that there had been 'lost opportunities' in his care which, if taken, may have resulted in him receiving earlier treatment.

The inquest heard evidence from staff at St Michael's Hospital, as well as emotional evidence from his parents, Alex and Bronwyn. Bronwyn delivered her evidence in person, fighting through tears as she read from her witness statement.

Rohan had been admitted to the unit with a patent ductus arteriosus, a cardiac defect in which a duct between blood vessels remains open after the child leaves the womb. The hospital at which he was born had recommended surgery to rectify the condition, and referred him to St Michael's.

He died on 30 September 2012, less than 48 hours after admission to the hospital. St Michael's is part of the same NHS trust as the Bristol Royal Children's Hospital, at which Luke Jenkins and Sean Turner died earlier that year. Their inquests concluded in November 2013 and January 2014 respectively.

Rohan's mother delivered this statement outside the coroner's court:

'We would like to thank the coroner for carrying out this investigation into Rohan's death. This has been an extremely difficult period for us, and we hope that, by re-living our grief in a public court, we will have gone some way towards finding justice for our son.

When Rohan came under the care of St Michael's he was a sick but stable little boy. Within 48 hours of his transfer he was dead.

Over the course of the inquest we have heard evidence that the senior neonatal nurse was not authorised to remove Rohan from his ventilator, and that this act seriously affected his chances of survival. The coroner found three lost opportunities to investigate Rohan's condition, which may have resulted in earlier treatment.

We also heard evidence of failings in basic care at the hospital, and shortcomings in communication within the unit. We can surely all agree that this can no longer continue.

We have not come here to demonize the NHS, nurses or doctors as a whole. In speaking publicly about the death of our son, our aim is to see serious, systemic change for the better at St Michael's hospital and the University Hospitals Bristol Trust.

Rohan suffered greatly in his final days, and we only hope that other children will never have to suffer the way he did.

We would like to thank the families of the other children who lost their lives at Bristol for their solidarity and support.'

Michelmores' Laurence Vick, the family's solicitor, praised the bravery of Rohan's parents. 'This is an awful situation, and Alex and Bronwyn are still grieving over the loss of their child. This is the third of seven Bristol inquests, and each one makes us more concerned about what appear to be systemic failings at the Trust.'

You can read the Bristol Post article on the Rhodes Inquest here.

Television coverage can be found here: