Baby boy died after signs of abuse were missed by health care workers
Baby boy died after signs of abuse were missed by health care workersBy Jaya Narain
Last updated at 7:10 AM on 02nd April 2009
A baby died after a catalogue of failures by health care professionals meant signs of neglect and abuse were never spotted.
A serious case review found that errors by doctors and health workers allowed Jack Harrison’s parents to hide the injuries they inflicted on him.
It said the health professionals failed to share their concerns over Jack and missed indicators of serious neglect.
No chance: When Jack Harrison died he had fractures to his arms, legs and ribs, and bruises on his face and legs
The baby was admitted to Tameside hospital, near Manchester, in October 2006 at five months old in an emaciated state. But after three days he was discharged without a plan for his future care.
The report criticised health workers for allowing his parents to obstruct attempts to arrange a follow-up visit.
A month later Jack was readmitted with pneumonia and died. A post-mortem examination found he had ‘non-accidental’ fractures in his arms, legs and ribs and recent bruising to his face and head.
Last December Stacey Taylor, 20, and Mark Harrison, 27, were convicted at Sheffield Crown Court of child cruelty over Jack’s death and jailed for three years.
The report, which refers to Jack as Child J, said: ‘The review found failings in how professionals involved with the family shared information, failed to identify indicators of neglect and were obstructed in their contact with Child J.
‘Although individual professionals had some concerns about Child J they were never shared in a formal multi-agency meeting or referred to social workers.
‘It is probable that if the information had been shared then different decisions would have been taken to be more assertive about the contact with and monitoring of Child J.’
The review found the first failure came when two midwives, who had expressed concern over Jack’s condition, failed to raise their concerns with health visitors who could then have monitored his health.
The second failure came after a health worker became concerned about his emaciated condition and called a GP.
The report said if information had been shared ‘then different decisions would have been taken to be more assertive about the contact with and monitoring of Child J’.
‘This would have included a full assessment of the home circumstances and the extent to which the parent’s were meeting Child J’s needs and keeping him safe.
‘In particular, the fact that Child J was admitted [to hospital] for failure to thrive just over a month before his death should have been recognised as evidence of neglect and the local safeguarding children procedures been invoked.’
The review made 12 recommendations for improvement which have been accepted by the authorities in Tameside.
The case highlights fears over the protection of young children following the death of Baby P. Professionals missed 60 chances to save him before he was found in his bloodspattered cot in Haringey, North London.
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