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Poor communication between doctors and nurses criticised in coroner's report

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Communication between doctors and nurses treating a 21 month old boy who later died was “poor”, a coroner’s report says.

Oliver Martin, from Welford, Northamptonshire, died of meningococcal septicaemia at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 13 May last year.

He was taken to the hospital by his mother but died 12 hours after being admitted.

At an inquest into his death on Thursday, Leicester coroner Catherine Mason said written and verbal communication during nurse and doctor handovers was poor.

Recording a narrative verdict after the inquest at Leicester Town Hall, she said if earlier treatment had been given the toddler’s chances of survival would have been better.

The verdict said: “Oliver Martin died on May 13, 2009, at the Leicester Royal Infirmary from meningococcal septicaemia. The evidence makes it entirely clear that written and verbal communication during nurses’ and doctors’ handovers was poor.

“This in turn led to a delay in the involvement of other members of the multi-disciplinary team and earlier treatment being given.

“Had earlier treatment been given, Oliver may still have died but, on a balance of probabilities, his chances of survival would have been better.”

On Friday, Kevin Harris, acting medical director at University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, said: “We accept the coroner’s verdict following the inquest into Oliver Martin’s death and we would like to express our sincere condolences to his family for the upset and distress caused.

“If Oliver’s family have any questions following the verdict, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss these with them.”

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