Toddler's tumour death was avoidable, coroner rules

The death of a toddler whose fatal brain condition was not spotted in time was "avoidable", a coroner has ruled.

Two-year-old Alice Mason had successfully undergone treatment for a brain tumour two months before she was taken ill in March 2011.

She died days later, having developed fluid on the brain, an inquest at West London Coroner's Court heard.

The coroner gave a narrative verdict of avoidable death and said her illness went "undiagnosed and untreated".

Dr Sean Cummings said he noted Alice had died "prematurely" at home on 31 March 2011 from her illness.

'Concerns about consultants'

He ruled "there were a very large number of serious failures" in Alice's care and said he would be making a report to NHS London with a copy to the Care Quality Commission about the issue.

The youngster's care was shared between her family's local district general hospital, Kingston Hospital in Surrey, cancer specialists at the Royal Marsden Hospital, in Chelsea, west London, and a neurosurgical team at St George's Hospital, south London.

Dr Cummings accepted there "have been improvements in the main," but added: "What I continue to have concerns about is the ability of the consultants to effectively lead their teams."

A Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: "After Alice's death, Kingston Hospital carried out a full investigation with the Royal Marsden and St George's Hospitals and from that a comprehensive action plan was implemented at Kingston Hospital.

"We will now look closely at the coroner's report and will make any further changes that are needed."

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