News

Too late for Stephen

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

THE DEATH of a Ballyward schoolboy has prompted a new protocol at Daisy Hill Hospital.

Stephen McElroy died aged 11 from a bowel obstruction which was wrongly diagnosed as constipation and he was sent home with laxatives.

Children who attend Daisy Hill's Emergency Department with abdominal pain are now reviewed by senior medical staff before being discharged after coroner Joe McCrisken described the care provided to Stephen as "wholly inadequate".

This new protocol came into effect at Daisy Hill Hospital in April 2015, days after Stephen's death.

The Southern Trust accepted there was a failure by them to make the correct diagnosis.

The Trust has since increased medical cover in the Emergency Department.

Dr Paul Megarry, a consultant at Craigavon Area Hospital, who compiled a Serious Adverse Incident report (SAI) for the Trust following Ste phen's death, said: "We recognise that there was a failure to make the right diagnosis in this case." He added that had bloods been taken, "the outcome would have been different in that the child would have been admitted and referred to the surgical team".

Dr Megarry told the inquest there are problems recruiting staff at the hospital, which is "putting patients at risk".

He said "one middle grade doctor and one junior doctor at night is what the Trust aspires to".

Stephen was the eldest son of Paul and Pattie McElroy of Drumgooland Road.

After the inquest, Mrs McElroy said she hoped no other family will have to go through what they are going through.

"The past two years since Stephen's death and the subsequent inquest has been a painful and difficult time for our family. We have gotten some peace from the findings and verdict.

"There were a lot of mistakes on the part of the Southern Trust who were responsible for Stephen's care and as a result of those failings we lost our beautiful strong boy.

"We love Stephen and miss him so much every single day. Our only hope is that radical changes are made by the Southern Trust and that no other family has to ever go through this," said the McElroy family.

Stephen's mum remembers him as a "big strapping boy who was into his football and sport ".

"It's the hardest thing to lose a child - your eldest son. And now his wee brother sitting on his own," Paul said following the inquest

"Now being given the truth, that the child should still be living, is very hard to deal with."

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