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Hospital staff would have saved life, states expert witness

An expert paediatrician told an inquest how an eight year old boy severely ill with diabetes, would almost certainly have survived if an ambulance had been dispatched immediately when the 999 call was made.

Instead, North West Ambulance Service wrongly recorded the symptoms of Lewis Austin, and forwarded the call to an out of hours call centre after classifying the case as a non-emergency.

The inquest, which was due to conclude on Thursday, had already heard staff at the out of hours centre, wrongly treated Louis’s condition which they suspected swine flu, prescribing Tamiflu. Some 36 hours later he was found dead by his mum.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Rakesh Amin, stated that it could have been very different had Louis been admitted to hospital when the 999 call was made last July. The expert claimed Louis would have then been correctly diagnosed with diabetes in under 30 minutes of arriving at A&E because of standard triage procedures which would have included a blood test.

As a consequence of the case, NWAS Area Medical Director Dr David Ratcliffe had ordered all 999 calls involving ‘sick’ children be given an automatic ambulance response, he also said all staff had been given extra training since Louis’s tragic death.

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