One 'Huge, Unforgivable Error' Dooms Boy, 7

James Dwerryhouse dies after monitoring equipment is shut off
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2017 7:41 PM CST
James Dwerryhouse is shown in a picture from a fundraising page set up for him.   (JustGiving)

(Newser) – James Dwerryhouse went to a London hospital last year for a routine operation to get a colostomy bag—and, though the operation went well, the 7-year-old died after the equipment monitoring his breathing was shut off in the middle of the night, a hospital investigation has concluded. Though James had a number of health issues, including sleep apnea, epilepsy, and hearing and sight problems, his parents say he "wasn't a fragile boy." But he did need his breathing monitored because of the sleep apnea, which can cause life-threatening breaks in breathing, the Guardian reports. After the operation, James was conscious and was able to talk to his siblings on FaceTime. His father left his room in the pediatric intensive care unit in the wee hours of the morning, and at 1:15am, the equipment monitoring his vital signs was turned off.

The report found that staffers who shut off the equipment did not consult with superiors. James was found to be unresponsive at 3:58am, and the report concludes that he ultimately died of brain damage and cardiac arrest as a result of the equipment being turned off. A lawyer calls it a "huge, unforgivable error"—and adds that it's also not clear how long it took hospital staff to call for a resuscitation "crash" team after discovering James; it could have been as long as 20 minutes. James' parents are pursuing legal action against Portland Hospital, which the Evening Standard notes is the UK's largest private children's hospital. His mother calls the boy's death "completely heartbreaking," per the BBC. (A pastor was charged in his toddler granddaughter's pneumonia death.)

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