The tragic death of a 10-month-old baby after mistakes by NHS 111 has prompted nationwide changes to the medical helpline.
An inquest heard that an NHS 111 call handler should have ensured Kyle Durkin went to hospital after his mother, Nicola Hick phoned the service to say he was sick.
Instead, Kyle stayed at home and was later taken by his parents to a York doctor, who did not diagnose his condition – an intestinal blockage – and sent him home.
The condition worsened and his parents, Nicola and Martyn Durkin, then took him to York Hospital but doctors were unable to save him.
An inquest heard that an NHS 111 call handler should have ensured Kyle Durkin (pictured) went to hospital after his mother, Nicola Hick phoned the service to say he was sick
Coroner John Broadbridge said in a narrative conclusion: ‘If responses to a triage telephone call had been appropriately processed, Kyle would then have been presented at hospital and assessed and the outcome different.’
He said Kyle’s condition went unrecognised and untreated following an out of hours GP appointment shortly after.
‘His condition became acute to critical by the next morning and he suffered a fatal cardiac event, and he was pronounced dead in spite of extensive emergency care,’ he said.
He said changes to ‘questions as set out on the screen’ for NHS 111 call handlers were already well in hand, as a direct result of Kyle’s death.
Kyle’s parents said in a statement after the hearing that they were ‘deeply saddened by the findings of the inquest that had the 111 call operator properly performed her task, an ambulance would have been called and Kyle would still be with us today’.
They added: ‘We understand there has been a change in national policy following Kyle’s death and hope that as a result of the changes, other families don’t have to go through what we have been through.’
Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which delivers NHS 111 across the region, confirmed that national changes had already been made to the telephone triage software used by the NHS 111 service, in regard to issues highlighted by the coroner.
‘The learning from this has also been used to review our processes within NHS 111 call centres locally and nationally,’ said a spokeswoman, adding: ‘Our thoughts and sympathy are with Kyle Durkin’s parents and family following his tragic death in July 2015.’
Dr Mike Harrison, of Yorkshire Doctors Urgent Care, offered its sincere condolences to the family and said: ‘In line with our own internal investigation, the coroner has confirmed that there was no evidence of negligence or incompetence.
‘None-the-less, as a learning organisation we will consider carefully if there are any lessons to be learned.’
The inquest was told that Kyle was born 14 weeks premature and weighing just 1lb 7oz, in October 2014, suffering from medical problems including three holes in his heart and intestinal difficulties, which required repeated surgery at hospitals in Hull and Leeds.
Ms Hick said then that Kyle had been a happy little boy and would be missed, adding: ‘He was a little fighter and he kept going for so long that he deserves to be in peace now where he is left alone and doesn’t have any more operations.
‘Kyle used to light up everyone’s world with his smile and will be the brightest star in the sky, shining down on everybody.’