Healthcare news

Inquest ordered into death of baby boy following A&E 'delays'

An inquest has been ordered into the death of three-month-old Kodyn Agnew, who died at The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast five years ago.
Seanín Graham

AN inquest hearing has been told of concerns about a delay in the medical assessment of a baby boy in a A&E department.

Kodyn Agnew, from Kells in Co Antrim, was just three months old when he died at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in March 2013.

At a preliminary inquest hearing in Belfast yesterday, coroner Paddy McGurgan noted "there was a concern" raised by the infant's family about the triage and "booking in process" in the children's casualty department, and whether he may have survived if he had been seen sooner.

A legal representative for the Belfast trust confirmed that a high-level probe, known as a Serious Adverse Incident (SAI), had been ordered following Kodyn's death and had been "very frank" in accepting there were delays.

He was unable to say however if all the SAI recommendations had been implemented to date.

Mr McGurgan said there had originally been a "formal discussion" over whether an inquest would go ahead.

"It is my intention to hold an inquest," he said.

A lawyer acting for the Agnew family said they will be "pleased" at Mr McGurgan's decision.

He added the next-of-kin had asked for an "Article 2" style inquest - referring to Article 2 of the Humans Right Act which protects the right to life.

These type of inquests arise when the state may have played a part in a person's death or failed to act when there is an immediate risk.

Mr McGurgan said that "on balance" the delays that followed the child's arrival to the Royal, including the triage and booking in system, had led him to believe it would be appropriate to sanction this type of inquest.

A further preliminary hearing will take place on September 6.

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