Inquiry call after death of casualty patient

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THE PARENTS of a boy who died from a fractured skull after a hospital allegedly refused to examine him because he was abusive and violent have called for a public inquiry into his death.

Gordon-Scot Niven, 16, was taken to Glasgow's Victoria Infirmary after falling off his mountain bike, but while waiting to be examined he became abusive and hospital staff called police.

He was arrested and later examined by a police surgeon who suspected a serious injury and returned him to hospital.

A brain scan confirmed that he had a fractured skull, and he was transferred to the neurological unit at Southern General Hospital. But he slipped into a coma and by the following morning he was diagnosed as brain dead. The next day his parents, Gordon and Pat agreed to turn off his life support machine.

David Wilson, the family's solicitor, said the Procurator Fiscal had now finished his report on Gordon's death and submitted it to the Lord Advocate who will decide if there should be a fatal accident inquiry.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "Obviously the hospital's thoughts are with the family following this tragedy. However, while patient care is our priority we have a duty to protect our staff and must call the police when patients become violent and abusive."

The accident happened on 23 September when Gordon was out riding his bicycle with a friend near his home in the Shorelands district of Glasgow. Mr Wilson said he was trying to do tricks on a ramp when he fell off and hit his head.

"He started behaving very erratically when he arrived at the hospital but that can be a characteristic of head injuries," he said.

"It is alleged that he assaulted a nurse and said that he had been drinking alcohol, but Mrs Niven told the doctor that her son did not drink.

"The consultant said he was fit to be arrested and he was taken to a police cell where he was left in a cell for an hour-and-a-half."

Mr Wilson said it was nearly five hours after the accident before Gordon had a brain scan and was transferred to the neurological unit.

"It is accepted that the boy was behaving erratically but having him arrested was not the answer. He had an injury that proved to be fatal and he had a right to treatment. Gordon died in very traumatic circumstances and his last hours must have been terrifying," he said.

"His parents find it hard to believe that there was no negligence given that there was a failure to diagnose and a failure to treat."