Doctors fatally mistook fracture

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The Independent Online
MEDICAL STAFF at a Glasgow hospital thought a 16-year-old boy was behaving aggressively because he had been drinking or taking drugs. In fact, he had fractured his skull in a fall.

A fatal accident inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court heard yesterday that staff at the Victoria Infirmary called the police and Gordon Niven was arrested and held in a cell for three hours. He died two days laterin another hospital.

Gordon, from the Shawlands area of Glasgow, had been injured in a fall off a bicycle but the injury was only suspected hours later by a police surgeon called to the cells.

His mother, Patricia Niven, broke down in the witness box as she described seeing her son in the Victoria Infirmary on 23 September 1997. "There was blood on his face," she said. But staff seemed more concerned about his behaviour. He was lashing out and had punched a nurse. A consultant told Mrs Niven Gordon had been drinking vodka and as head injuries went, his was not that bad. A nurse said he had the "classic behaviour of a drug addict".

The inquiry continues.