Calls for Norwich surgery to review procedures after death of nine month old baby

Deputy Coroner, David Osborne. Picture: Denise Bradley

Deputy Coroner, David Osborne. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

A coroner has called for a Norwich surgery to review its procedures after the death of a nine-month-old baby who was a patient at the practice.

Yuki Ivy Norman-Knight, who was born on July 12, 2011 and lived with her mother Nicola Norman at Canterbury Place, Norwich, was pronounced dead at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on April 21 last year.

An inquest in Norwich yesterday heard Yuki's cause of death was haemophilus influenzae bronchopneumonia.

Giving evidence Yuki's father Dean Knight, who has separated from Ms Norman but still took a full part in caring for his daughter, said they were both concerned about a cough she had suffered for about two to three months.

The inquest heard Yuki, who had been registered at St Stephens Gate Medical Practice, was taken to the Timber Hill walk-in centre on three occasions in November and December 2011 and January 2012

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and subsequently seen twice by two different nurses at St Stephens Gate.

She was seen at the St Stephens Gate practice on March 14, 2012 by a nurse who diagnosed a chest infection and prescribed a week-long course of antibiotics.

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But Yuki, who it was later discovered had a part of her brain underdeveloped which might have masked symptoms, returned 12 days later.

Another nurse gave her another seven-day course, but she was not a prescriber and had to get the doctor to sign off the medication although the doctor did not see the baby.

By the time Yuki went to stay with Mr Knight on April 20 last year she had got to the point where 'she would cough and it would be mucus to the point she would choke on it'.

The next morning he called the ambulance and tried to resuscitate her but she did not survive.

In her statement Yuki's mother said her daughter was the 'best thing that ever happened to me'.

Dr Nandu Thalange, a consultant paediatrician at the Norfolk and Norwich, said Yuki was very unlucky in that she had an 'indolent' infection which was very difficult to diagnose. In his opinion the action taken by the nurses was 'entirely reasonable'.

Norfolk assistant deputy coroner David Osborne said the evidence ruled out any question of neglect

as part of his conclusion which was that Yuki died from natural causes.

However Mr Osborne said he will be writing to St Stephens Gate Medical Practice and asking them to 'review the systems for nurses and nurse practitioners checking past medical histories with patient records, particularly in the case of young children and babies.'

No-one from the practice wanted to comment but said their condolences were with the family.

After the inquest Ms Norman's father, Colin Norman, issued a statement on behalf of the family: 'We hope that after this inquest some good can come of this sad event. In particular those who are trusted to care for our loved ones take a good look at their care, systems of care, aftercare if things go wrong.

'When a person dies they are lost to those who loved them such as family and friends.

'This is only natural. What must never become natural is the professional bodies treating them as mere statistics or numbers in an uncaring system.

'Now as a family we have to come to terms with this sad loss and learn to live with it day by day.'

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