Verdict quashed on child's death

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The Independent Online
The family of a 23-month-old boy who died during surgery after being shuttled between four hospitals in eight hours yesterday succeeded in their bid to quash an inquest jury's verdict that he died from "natural causes".

But Mr Justice Kay, at the High Court, refused to substitute a finding of death by accident/misadventure, or to remit the case for a fresh inquest. There was an outcry when the jury returned the 8-1 majority verdict on Robert Benton, who died in the Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham, in June 1995 after falling ill with a chest infection, in April last year. Lawyers for his mother, Julie Benton, 24, and his father, Timothy Dawes, 33, from Rowley Regis, Warley, West Midlands, argued that there had been a misdiagnosis during emergency treatment, and the jury should have been allowed to consider a verdict of misadventure or lack of care.