Sunday 17 December 2017

Toddler dies of leukaemia after medics miss condition 35 times

Coroner expresses concern about the continuity in care and hospital's lack of access to GP records following Ryan Bhogal's death

20-month-old Ryan Bhogal died just two days after being admitted to hospital
20-month-old Ryan Bhogal died just two days after being admitted to hospital

A toddler died of leukaemia after medics repeatedly failed to diagnose the condition despite numerous "red flags" and 35 separate visits to doctors and hospitals.

A coroner has written to a GP practice demanding answers after 20-month-old Ryan Bhogal died just two days after being admitted to a children's hospital last September,

Zafar Siddique said improvements must be made and expressed particular concern about the lack of continuity in care and the hospital's lack of access to Ryan's GP records.

GP Dr Indira Wariyar, who saw Ryan four times, admitted there were "missed opportunities" to help the toddler.

The family's desperate attempts to get medical help between December 2014 and last September included 12 visits to their local Wolverhampton GP practice, six trips to the city's New Cross hospital and 17 to medical walk-in centres.

 Dr Prashant Hiwarkar, from Birmingham children's hospital, said he believed leukaemia would have been detected if blood tests had been taken on visits to New Cross last August.

"If Ryan's gums were bleeding on August 9 and still red and bleeding on August 18 this would be a red flag for me," he told the inquest.

"I would have asked for a blood test.

"I believe you would have seen signs of an abnormal blood count in August."

Dr Hiwarkar said children diagnosed early with Ryan's form of aggressive leukaemia had a 40 to 60 per cent chance of survival.

But he said he could not say what the outcome would have been had the illness been detected at an earlier stage.

Recording a death from natural causes, Mr Siddique said: "I will write to the GP practice to discuss the care of Ryan and, in particular continuity, as he was seen by a number of different doctors. I will also write to New Cross hospital.

"I have concerns about lack of access to GP medical records for patients, which was certainly so in Ryan's case. I want improvements to be made."

Speaking during the inquest, Ryan's father, Kulvinder Bhogal, 42, fought back tears as he described watching his son die.

fouht back tears as he described how his son lay dying in hospital.

"Seeing him lying there attached to a machine was heartbreaking," he said. "I walked away from the ward with tears in my eyes. He was my world."

Gurpal Bhogal, the boy's aunt, said afterwards that the toddler had been "failed" repeatedly by those who should have helped him.

She added: "A simple blood test should have been carried out and there were many missed opportunities to do this.

"But this was never done. Lessons have to be learnt from this."

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