Simpson Millar Representing Family of Young Girl who Died from Sepsis

10th July 2019

The devastated parents of a young girl who died from Sepsis within days of being discharged from A&E with just a dose of Calpol and Ibuprofen have today spoken of their heartbreak in the hope that lessons learnt will be shared across the NHS.

Kessie Thomas was four years old when she rushed to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, on April 9th, 2017, with a high temperature, a heart rate of 178 bpm, and suffering from convulsions.

Having been born with a heart condition her mother, Marie, was particularly concerned about her symptoms, but after receiving a dose of Calpol and Ibuprofen to help bring her temperature down, the family were sent home in the early hours of April 10th.

Over the next 24hrs, Kessie’s condition did not improve, and so on April 11th, her mother took her back the hospital where, within 2hrs of arriving, she suffered a cardiac arrest caused by Septicaemia.

Kessie was moved to Evelina Children’s Hospital to receive specialist care, but despite the best efforts of the medical staff, she died later the same day having suffered severe brain damage.

Medical Staff Failed to follow NICE Guidelines

The Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust have since sent their condolences to the family following an admission that medical staff failed to follow NICE guidelines that would have identified Sepsis as a potential diagnosis and the cause of the seizures and high temperature.

The Trust has since carried out a serious incident investigation into Kessie’s death and has outlined plans to further train medical staff in A&E and Paediatric areas on diagnosing and treating Sepsis.

A move that has been welcomed by her grieving family, who have instructed leading Medical Negligence Solicitors at Simpson Millar to support them with their battle for answers.

Marie, 36, who now lives with her husband David, a delivery driver, and their daughter Kimberlie in Purley, Surrey said, “Nothing can compare to the death of a child. We have been left devastated by Kessie’s death, and it is impossible to imagine how we will ever move on from what has happened.”

Rebecca Brunton, a Medical Negligence Solicitor at Simpson Millar, said, “To have lost Kessie under such difficult circumstances has, understandably, left the family devastated.

“Since her death in 2017 they have been desperate for answers as to whether more could, and should, have been done to save their daughter – and an internal investigation carried out by the Trust has identified a number of failings.

“Now that the Trust has admitted fault, it is absolutely imperative that lessons learnt are acted upon and shared throughout the NHS to ensure that future suffering is prevented.

“It is their hope that by speaking out, no one will have to go through what they have faced over the last few years.”

Mary Hillary Kessie Thomas – known to her family as Kessie - was born with a hole in her heart on December 12, 2012, in Mauritius.

Treatment for the condition when she was just two months old was successful, and although doctors did say extra precaution should be taken when she was unwell, she went on to be a strong, healthy, happy little girl.

When mum Marie called an ambulance on April 9th 2017 after Kessie had suffered two convulsions in quick succession, and was experiencing a high heart rate and a high temperature.

Despite the severity of the symptoms when she was admitted, she was not kept in hospital overnight for observations but was discharged in the early hours of the morning of the 10th of April with just a dose of Calpol and some Ibuprofen. Her mother was not given any medication to take home with her but was told to pick some up from the pharmacy the next morning.

The following day – April 11th - Kessie was taken back to A&E, where she suffered a cardiac arrest and lost consciousness - she was subsequently diagnosed with Septicaemia.

An Inquest took place on November 21st, 2018 at North West Kent Coroners.

The family have welcomed the internal investigation that has been carried out at the hospital following Kessie’s death but has urged the Trust to ensure that lessons learnt are shared across the NHS to prevent future tragedies.

Marie added, “There is every reason to believe that if Kessie had been kept in hospital for observations overnight, she would still be with us today. Her condition would have been monitored, and the medical staff would have been on hand to treat the Sepsis much sooner.

“We want the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to share the lessons that they have learnt from their investigations with all Trust’s across the country so that no one need suffer the way we have in the future.”

The call to action comes just days after NHS chiefs announced plans to roll out a new safety strategy that will ensure all staff - however junior - are trained to act if they spot risks, and that medical staff feel confident to report when errors are made in order to ensure that lessons can be learnt.

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