Coroner to decide whether hospital death of 12-year-old girl was caused by neglect


A coroner will decide tomorrow whether the death of a girl with a severe learning disability was caused by neglect from nurses and doctors at a Greater Manchester hospital.

Emma Stones, 12, died from septicaemia, or blood poisoning, arising from a bacterial infection 16 hours after being admitted to Thameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in February 2011.

Emma, who had cerebral palsy and a mental age of five, was “ice cold and stiff as a board” in a hospital bed when her parents came to visit the morning after her admission with flu-like symptoms. 

Coroner John Pollard will tomorrow hear from an independent medical expert before deciding whether a catalogue of failures to provide basic medical and nursing care contributed to Emma’s death.

It is the latest in a long-line of high profile deaths of patients with learning disabilities in which the NHS has been accused of providing substandard care to vulnerable people incapable of speaking out.

The charity Mencap has campaigned for hospitals and clinicians to be held accountable following dozens of deaths of people with learning disabilities it says were caused by institutional discrimination in the NHS.

The inquest at Stockport Coroner’s Court has already criticised the lack of urgency, co-ordination and communication between the hospital staff at earlier hearings. The medical expert will explain Emma’s likelihood of survival if the bacterial infection had been diagnosed and treated more quickly.

The hearing has so far heard how a junior doctor did not take a blood test because her senior colleague was too busy to help.

Emma’s blood pressure was never taken and the nurses failed to monitor her overnight. One of the nurses disregarded a pulse rate of 180 as a false reading rather than informing the medical staff.

The only information noted on the handover notes for the night shift was cerebral palsy; there was no care plan. One nurse was suspended for a month and later received a warning at an internal disciplinary hearing before resuming her job.

Emma’s father Michael Stones slammed the hospital’s attitude towards his daughter.

“We keep hearing that she’d have died anyway, and yes she’s had her problems but they did nothing for her, they didn’t give her a chance. She was a handicapped girl who couldn’t speak for herself and we’re supposed to just swallow it... it’s an absolute disgrace," he said.

“They came around after she died and said they had put everything right. Big deal. I lost my 12-year-old daughter. They were so arrogant, they just wanted us to shut up and let it lie.”

He added: “A blind man can see that they collectively neglected by daughter but I don’t know what the coroner will say on Monday. It’s too late for my daughter but I want the hospital shown up, it’s not right what they did.”

Mark Goldring, chief executive at Mencap, said: “The failure to provide basic care to patients like Emma is often underpinned by a view that the lives of people with a learning disability are not worth saving. It is totally unacceptable for health professionals to make a judgement about the quality of someone's life.”

Peter Walsh, from the charity Action against Medical Accidents which has supported the Stones family through the inquest, said the it was yet another “scandalous tragedy” involving another patient unable to speak up from themselves.

The hospital has not responded to the Independent’s attempts to seek a response.  A spokesman for the hospital is reported to have said “While it would not be appropriate for the hospital to comment on the details until the Coroner has reached his verdict, we would wish to express our deepest sympathies to the family at this very difficult time”.

Suggested Topics
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst/ Project Manager - Financial Services

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...

Welsh Medium Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Primary Tutors needed in Chester

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Tutoring in Cheshire West &amp...

IT Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits