Child’s death prompts probe

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Police and health officials are probing the death of a four-year-old boy in Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

A full-scale investigation is underway and the death of the little boy from Balby has been referred to Doncaster Safeguarding Children’s Board.

Doncaster Royal Infirmary has classed the circumstances surrounding Daniel Lewis Hames’ death as a “Serious Incident” but refused to given any further details or confirm if any members of staff at the hospital had been suspended following the incident.

The news comes after the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital Trust was found to have reported the highest number of Serious Incidents in the region. According to a report between July 2011 and November 2012 61 SIs were reported.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm that we reported a child death at Doncaster Royal Infirmary in March to the coroner. We also reported it as a Serious Incident and are currently carrying out a thorough investigation into the circumstances.

“At this time, we do not know the cause of death. That will be determined in due course by the coroner. We offer our sincere condolences to the family and are keeping them fully informed about progress with the investigation.”

Asked if anyone had been suspended at the hospital as a result of the incident, the spokesman would not confirm, or deny, and said in a statement : “We have policies and procedures that ensure patient safety is protected where a

Serious Incident is under investigation. We are following these policies and procedures and will respond appropriately as further information is available about the incident.”

A police spokesman said: “South Yorkshire Police are carrying out inquires on behalf of the coroner after the death of a four-year-old boy from Balby, Doncaster, who died in DRI in March 2013.

“Police are working alongside Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals to determine the circumstances surrounding his death, although his death is not thought to be suspicious.”

Mary Shepherd, Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group’s chief nurse said: “All Serious Incidents like this are reported to us. They are then investigated by the organisation involved, with our independent support, to lessons are learned and that the appropriate actions are being taken to help prevent any further incidents. This specific case has also been referred to the Doncaster Safeguarding Children’s Board for their consideration, which is normal practice.”

A spokesman for Doncaster coroner’s court confirmed that an inquest into Daniel’s death on March 3 had been opened and adjourned “pending all investigations”.

A report to the board of governors earlier this month on the subject of the high number of SIs said: “The trust had reported the highest number of SIs in the region. There were different thresholds for SI reporting, and the trust reported incidents that other trusts did not report. The trust had aimed to be open and transparent when reporting SIs, and there was a downward trend.”

Doncaster Safeguarding Children’s Board refused to comment when contacted by the Free Press.

Definitions of an SI include unexpected or unavoidable death of one or more patients, staff, visitors or members of staff where natural causes are not suspected and to determine if the incident contributed to the unexpected death.