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Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust admits mistakes lead to 4-year-old's death

By Sean McPolin

An NHS trust has admitted 'they didn't get it right' when a four-year-old girl died after suffering a cardiac arrest caused by septicaemia.

Kessie Thomas was rushed to Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, on April 9, 2017, with a high temperature and heart rate, as well as suffering from convulsions.

Her mother Marie, 36, was extremely concerned for her daughter but was sent home from the hospital in the early hours of the next day after the tot was given a dose of Calpol and Ibuprofen.

Kessie Thomas, 4, died a day after being taking to hospital with a high temperature and heart rate. Picture: Simon Millar (13678531)
Kessie Thomas, 4, died a day after being taking to hospital with a high temperature and heart rate. Picture: Simon Millar (13678531)

Young Kessie's condition didn't improve over the next 24 hours and her mother rushed her back to the hospital on April 11.

Within two hours of arriving Kessie suffered a cardiac arrest caused by septicaemia.

She was rushed to Evelina Children's Hospital in London to receive specialist care, but died later the same day having suffered sever brain damage.

"We have been left devastated by Kessie's death and it is impossible to imagine how we will ever move on from what has happened ." - Kessie's mum Marie

Following legal action by Simpson Millar's medical team, on behalf of the family, The Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust admitted their staff failed to follow guidelines that would have identified Sepsis as a potential diagnosis of Kessie's seizures and temperature.

A spokesman for the Trust said: "Losing a child at any time is tragic and we have looked in depth at the treatment Kessie received at the hospital in 2017.

"We acknowledge that we did not get it right for Kessie and have instituted several actions since to improve awareness, identification and treatment of sepsis.

Kessie Thomas was taken to Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, a day before she died
Kessie Thomas was taken to Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, a day before she died

"We would like to send again our condolences and apologies to Kessie’s parents."

Kessie's mum Marie, who now lives in Surrey with husband David and daughter Kimberlie, said: "Nothing can compare to the death of a child. We have been left devastated by Kessie’s death and it is impossible to imagine how we will ever move on from what has happened.”

Rebecca Brunton, a medical law expert at Simpson Millar, said: “To have lost Kessie under such difficult circumstances has, understandably, left the family devastated.

“Since her death in 2017 they have been desperate for answers as to whether more could, and should, have been done to save their daughter – and an internal investigation carried out by the Trust has identified a number of failings.

“Now that the Trust has admitted fault it is absolutely imperative that lessons learnt are acted upon and shared throughout the NHS to ensure that future suffering is prevented.

“It is their hope that by speaking out no one will have to go through what they have faced over the last few years.”

"We want the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to share the lessons that they have learnt from their investigations with all Trust’s across the country so that no one need suffer the way we have in the future.” - Kessie's mum Marie

Kessie's family have welcomed an internal investigation the Trust conducted after the youngsters death, which included plans for further training for mediacal staff, and hopes lessons have been learnt from the traumatic ordeal.

Marie added: "There is every reason to believe that if Kessie had been kept in hospital for observations overnight she would still be with us today. Her condition would have been monitored, and the medical staff would have been on hand to treat the sepsis much sooner.

“We want the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to share the lessons that they have learnt from their investigations with all Trust’s across the country so that no one need suffer the way we have in the future.”

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

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