Birmingham & Black Country

Kyle Keen: Toddler death 'could have been avoided'

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Media captionKyle Keen died in 2006 from severe head injuries

The death of a toddler could have been avoided if a West Midlands hospital had referred him to social services at an earlier date, a report has found.

Sixteen-month-old Kyle Keen died at Walsall Manor Hospital in 2006 from a brain bleed after being shaken by his stepfather, Tyrone Matthews.

Matthews was sentenced to six-and-a-half years for manslaughter in 2007.

The hospital has apologised to his natural father and said improvements in referring cases had been made.

Kyle was admitted to the Paediatric ward on 21 June 2006 where unexplained bruises were noted by nurses.

The report said they raised concerns but the matter was never referred to social services.

Image caption Kyle's natural father Robert said the youngster's death had had a "big impact"

He was discharged but was readmitted on 29 June with head injuries. His life support machine was turned off a day later.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had been severely shaken.

A independent investigation into Kyle's death was commissioned by the hospital trust in November after his natural father, Robert Keen, raised concerns.

"We have never gotten (sic) over it," said Mr Keen. "It's had a big impact on all of us."

Mr Keen was forced to use Freedom of Information legislation to get answers from the hospital about the treatment his son received after he was contacted by a doctor.

It has also transpired that Mr Keen was not interviewed during at least one Serious Case Review into his son's death.

A full letter of apology has now been sent to Mr Keen, on behalf of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Walsall Council's Children's Services and the Local Safeguarding Children's Board.

Hospital chief executive, Richard Kirby said: "I have apologised unreservedly to Mr Keen for the failure to refer Kyle to children' social care in 2006 and for the fact that the investigations undertaken at the time were not as robust as they should have been and were not shared with him.

"As the report recognises, we have already made significant improvements in the way we work together across the organisations responsible for services for children in Walsall to improve the services we provide."

Chair of the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board, Robert Lake, said: "Since these tragic events, we have improved the way we work, and always keep in mind that there is a child or young person at the heart of everything we do."

In a statement Mr Keen said: "I hope that Manor Hospital will learn the lessons from this latest investigation and that no other Walsall family will lose a child because of such serious mistakes.

"If that does happen I hope the hospital will immediately put its hands up and admit it got it wrong, covering things up for years only makes things worse."

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