PM: Death of Sam Morrish 'absolutely shocking'

Sam Morrish Image copyright Scott Morrish
Image caption Sam Morrish died after a "catalogue of errors"

"Shocking" failures by the NHS that led to the death of a boy and left his family waiting for answers must not be repeated, David Cameron said.

Sam Morrish, three, died in December 2010 from a treatable condition because four health service organisations made mistakes, the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) said.

He died of severe sepsis after a "catalogue of errors".

His family also said they felt they had been failed by the complaints system.

Newton Abbot Conservative Anne Marie Morris told the prime minister in the House of Commons: "You will be aware of the tragic death of my three-year-old constituent Sam Morrish from sepsis while under NHS care.

Image copyright SPL

Facts about sepsis

  • Sepsis is a more common reason for hospital admission than heart attack - and has a higher mortality
  • The most common causes of severe sepsis are pneumonia, bowel perforation, urinary infection, and severe skin infections
  • The most common signs of sepsis are a high fever, violent shivering, fainting, cold and pale hands, rapid breathing, confusion or delirium
  • 37,000 people are estimated to die of sepsis each year in the UK
  • From the time sepsis first takes hold, healthcare workers have just hours to deliver the right care
  • Source: UK Sepsis Trust

"He was failed by his GPs, out-of-hours services, the hospital, the primary care trust and the ombudsman.

"This must not happen again.

"Will you ensure that the ombudsman's recommendations are implemented in full and that the system of review within the NHS and by the ombudsman are radically overhauled to deliver proper transparency and accountability in a timely way?

"This family waited two years for justice."

Mr Cameron replied: "You are absolutely right to raise this tragic case and all our thoughts should be with Sam's parents, who I know have had a meeting with [Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt].

"It is absolutely shocking and saddening, as you say, to see a whole succession of health services fail this family and anyone who has lost a child that young knows how harrowing and dreadful this experience is."

Mr Cameron's son Ivan died in 2009 aged six, having lived with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

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