Three healthcare providers have been fined £110,000 for their negligent actions which led to he death of a disabled Blackpool girl.
NHS Litigation Services, representing Blackpool Primary Healthcare Trust and North Lancashire Primary Care Trust, and Interserve Healthcare Limited were fined following the death of 10-year-old Jade Norton in 2011.
Jade suffered from Rett Syndrome, epilepsy and scoliosis which affected her physical and mental abilities.
Her condition was progressive and her health was gradually deteriorating.
Preston Crown Court heard Jade lived with her parents at Eaton Road, South shore, and received support from a number of healthcare organisations.
On five separate occasions, Jade’s family reported a fault with her bed.
The failings that led to Jade’s untimely death could so easily have been avoidedHSE Inspector Mike Mullen
She slept in a cot bed with integral bed rails.
Jade’s death came after she fell from her bed with her head becoming trapped between the folds of the vinyl side panel that formed part of the bed rail system.
The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) subsequent investigation revealed multiple failings in the management of the risks by the organisations responsible for supporting Jade.
They told the court there was a lack of risk assessment and communication between the organisations entrusted with the little girl’s care.
Jade’s epilepsy regularly caused seizures.
The court heard the seizures would vary but it was common for Jade to change position in her bed as a result of suffering a seizure.
As her condition deteriorated, the length of the seizures and the frequency of them increased.
Jade’s scoliosis had also caused her to develop an abnormal curve of the spine which caused the upper body to have a tendency to lean to one side.
The way in which this developed meant that the tendency was for Jade to lean out towards the outside of the bed.
The other side of the bed was against the wall.
By 2010 Jade’s condition was noticeably deteriorating and she was experiencing frequent bouts of chest infections and hospital admissions for related illnesses.
Jade was also losing her ability to swallow safely.
On June 5 2011, the upper bed rail became detached from Jade’s bed and Jade was found on the floor as if kneeling at the side of her bed with her head between the folds of the vinyl side panel.
She was unconscious and despite emergency services arriving on the scene and providing first aid, she died later in hospital.
HSE Inspector Mike Mullen said: “The failings that led to Jade’s untimely death could so easily have been avoided. Basic assessments and maintenance would have prevented this from happening.
“Existing policies for the use of bed rails failed to be implemented and as a result, Jade and her family were failed by the organisations entrusted with her care.”
NHS Litigation Services (in respect of Blackpool Primary Healthcare Trust and North Lancashire Primary Care Trusts) was fined a total of £60,000 after pleading guilty to breaches of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (£30,000) and Regulation 5 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (£30,000), and ordered to pay costs.
Interserve Healthcare Ltd in respect of Advantage Healthcare Group Ltd was fined a total of £50,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at WorkAct 1974 (£25,000) and Regulation 3 (1) (b) of
the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (£25,000) and ordered to pay costs.