Two-year-old baby Archie with brain disorder died after “complex” health problems

Norfolk Coroner's Court. Photo by Simon Finlay

Norfolk Coroner's Court. Photo by Simon Finlay - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A mother has told an inquest of her desperation as the health of her baby deteriorated in the days before he died - aged just two years old.

Archie Skingley, formerly Archie Jinks, died at Monastery House in Quidenham children's hospice on August 18 last year, where he had been transferred for end of life care, and doctors admitted it had been 'a struggle' diagnosing his complex symptoms.

Three consultant paediatricians, including Archie's regular doctor at the James Paget Hospital, were on annual leave during the period when his condition became critical, Norfolk Coroner's Court heard.

At four months Archie began having seizures, and was diagnosed with brain disorder encephalopathy, and West Syndrome - infantile spasms.

Doctors had been treating him with sodium valproate and he had to be fed almost exclusively through a drip as he had regular episodes of vomiting.

Archie was admitted regularly to the James Paget with lethargy or viral infections, and was eventually taken to Addenbrooke's in Cambridge on August 8. By August 15 he had lost 20pc of his body weight and had regular 'abnormal movements'.

A rare complication of medication sodium valproate - renal tubular acidosis - was recognised too late and the decision was made not to intervene, instead transferring Archie to Quidenham.

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Consultant paediatrician Dr Patricia Cartori told the court she had been 'surprised and very sad' when Archie died.

'During July I had become increasingly concerned about the vomiting and the fact we were not winning it,' she said. 'It was a difficult symptom and I don't think we ever got to the bottom of it. He was very complex.'

Archie's mother Claire Skingley told the court about the night of July 26 when Archie had become extremely dehydrated in the James Paget.

'We went running up and down the corridor trying to get help,' she said. 'I had to do something so I phoned the symptom management team at the hospice and we were with them for five hours trying to get through it.

'All I can remember is cradling him in my arms and I thought that was it.

'Apart from that period I want to thank all the doctors for what they did for Archie.'

Area coroner Yvonne Blake recorded a narrative conclusion.

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