Sheffield Children’s Hospital told to apologise for ‘failings’ in care for tragic toddler

Tracy Norton with granddaughter Lexie Harrison

Tracy Norton with granddaughter Lexie Harrison

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Sheffield Children’s Hospital has been told to apologise to the family of a two-year-old toddler who tragically died following ‘failings’ in her care.

Lexie Harrison suffered from Zellweger Spectrum Disorder – a rare condition which left her blind and hearing impaired and she was not expected to live past her first birthday.

Paul Norton with granddaughter Lexie Harrison

Paul Norton with granddaughter Lexie Harrison

But she lived until she was two-and-a-half before dying in summer 2013 following complications at hospital.

A report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman said the hospital should ‘acknowledge and apologise for the failings in its care for Lexie’.

An inquest in January 2015 heard Lexie had started suffering liver disease and seizures and was admitted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for a routine procedure, but after complications she suffered internal bleeding and was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary. She died at her grandparents’ home in July 2013 from liver failure.

Lexie’s grandmother Tracy Norton, from Walkeringham, near Doncaster, told the inquest despite numerous attempts to raise concerns with hospital staff in Sheffield and Leeds, Lexie was not given proper care and medication.

Lexie Harrison

Lexie Harrison

Assistant coroner Melanie Williamson criticised Sheffield Children’s Hospital for failing to tell Lexie’s grandparents the toddler had only months to live after the condition of her liver deteriorated between March and May 2013.

She said Lexie died as a result of liver failure and infantile Refsum’s disease – a condition linked to Zellweger Syndrome.

The new report by the Ombudsman found record-keeping relating to Lexie by hospital staff was ‘poor’, and also raised concerns about the frequency of how she was monitored in hospital.

It said: “The absence of evidence of appropriate care plans and the lack of an individualised approach to Lexie’s care planning is a failing, particularly in light of Lexie’s complex medical conditions.

“The nursing charts are unclear and open to interpretation which does not follow established good practice.

“The four-hourly observation trends are poorly completed and it is difficult to read any trends from this information.

“We consider that the nursing documentation falls short of that expected by national guidance and this is a failing.”

The report says the trust should apologise to the family and draw up a plan to ‘ensure it has learnt the lessons from the failing identified’.

A Sheffield Children’s Hospital spokesman said: “We received the report this week and we will be contacting Lexie’s family about it directly. We are also looking into how we can ensure the lessons within the report are taken on board.”