THE MOTHER of a boy who lost his battle with sepsis after a hospital error feels “broken” after an inquest found he died of natural causes.
Tragic Sheldon Farnell, 4, was sent home by hospital doctors minutes before test results confirmed he had a potentially deadly infection.
Sheldon died at Sunderland Royal Hospital on the morning of November 26 2018, three days after he was first taken to the hospital when he became unwell.
His “devastated” mother, Katrina, 25, claimed that her young son had died because he was “deeply” neglected by doctors.
But today, after a five-day inquest at Durham Redhills, a majority jury concluded that her child had died of natural causes.
After the decision Ms Farnell said: 'I'm very disappointed, I didn't think we would get this outcome.
'I'm just gutted, devastated. It's been very hard (to relive Sheldon's final days).
“I'm broken. The whole family is broken. We're all devastated.'
His grandmother Nicola Jamiesonn added: “We've had to relive from when Sheldon took poorly until the day he died, up to his funeral, and the last two and a half years we've all had to support each other some way or another.
“To get an outcome like today it's just absolutely devastating. It's so wrong.
“This little boy, he's not meant to be dead, he's meant to be here with us and his mam. And he's not and he's been taken away and he's only four. It's not fair.”
Coroner Derek Winter heard how tests were carried out after the tot arrived at A&E following two days of headaches and high temperatures.
Despite blood culture test results showing that Sheldon had sepsis, doctors believed his condition had improved so much that they suspected the positive result was due to a contaminant.
He was discharged from hospital by Dr Geoffrey Lawson – even though the definitive results had not come back yet.
Dr Christopher Settle, a consultant microbiologist, later contacted the ward to say that final blood culture tests returned a “ground positive” result for sepsis, the inquest was told.
Dr Lawson told the inquest that he didn’t appreciate the severity of Sheldon’s illness at the time, “which will be my lifelong regret”.
Hospital staff were unable to contact Miss Farnell to tell her to pick up antibiotics for Sheldon as a result of an admin error, the inquest heard.
Dr Lawson later decided against getting police to visit the family to inform them of their son’s illness, as he believed they would return to hospital if his condition worsened.
Sheldon was rushed back to the hospital with “septic shock” at 4am on November 26. He was admitted to intensive care but died hours later.
A post-mortem examination found that Sheldon died of "overwhelming sepsis" that resulted from an ear infection.
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