NHS Investigation into Boy’s Death from Sepsis

Monday, 25 July 2016 09:18

A second review has been published this week by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) into the death from sepsis of three year old Sam Morrish who lived in Devon. This can be found at http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/reports-and-consultations/reports/health/learning-from-mistakes

The first review had found that four health service groups had made errors in Sam’s care in 2010 following complaints made by his parents. These were Cricketfield GP Surgery, NHS Direct, Devon Doctors Limited and South Devon NHS Trust. The second review explored how his death had been investigated by the four health service groups as well as the Primary Care Trust

NHS England said it wanted staff to ‘acknowledge when mistakes are made.’

The conclusions reached by the second review were that ‘We think a fundamental failure in this case was the organisations’ – in particular the Trust’s – unwillingness to accept that any view other than their own initial view might not be the right one.’

‘Those involved appeared to accept almost immediately the view that Sam’s death was rare and unfortunate rather than being open to other possibilities.’

Sepsis is condition where the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection. It can be devastating when the early signs and symptoms are missed as sepsis can result in organ failure and death. It is estimated that there are about 60,000 deaths from sepsis in the UK per year of which 12,000 are avoidable according to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

It is clear that lessons still need to be learned from Sam’s tragic death and other avoidable deaths from sepsis that have been reported over recent years. Indeed there is an increasing awareness of the need to educate all doctors to recognise and act upon the early signs of sepsis, with a Public Health campaign to be implemented.

If you have any concerns about the medical treatment you or a loved one have received please contact one of our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors, all of whom are experienced in dealing with a broad range of Medical Negligence Claims, for free initial independent advice

Author: Lorna Lymer, Clinical Negligence Team, Davies and Partners  or Email:


Go To Top