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Care failings responsible for teenage death

Posted in: Medical Negligence Wrongful & Accidental Death 

A special care unit for people with learning disabilities is ‘unlikely to reopen’ after a teenage boy died in the bath last year. 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk was found unconscious in a bath at Slade House, Headington, Oxford, on the 4th of July last year. He died in hospital later that day.

A recently released report ruled that the boy’s death could easily have been prevented. A post-mortem examination confirmed that Connor’s death was definitely caused by drowning; yet Connor suffered with severe epilepsy, which could have led to his head being submerged under water.

The trust that runs Slade House – Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust – said that they are ‘unlikely to reopen’ after the incident happened. This has not yet been a finalised decision, but options such as leasing or selling the building are being considered.

“Series of poor decisions”

A report from patient safety investigating firm Verita highlighted that the staff’s failure to respond to, or carry out a risk assessment, of Connor’s epilepsy meant that a “series of poor decisions [were made] around his care”.

Katrina Percy, chief executive of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said she was “deeply sorry” it had “failed to undertake the necessary actions required to keep him safe“.

Following the report, Slade House closed its two units to new admissions. They are currently discussing their next steps.

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