16th July 2020 – Our client, Laura Cooke, presented to QEQM on 29.11.2019 with her 5 week old baby, Luchii, who was suffering with a mottled rash, erratic breathing and reduced feeding. He was seen by a junior doctor, diagnosed with bronchiolitis and sent home without treatment. No chest x – ray or blood tests were taken.
On 06.12.2019 Luchii was taken to QEQM via ambulance with erratic breathing and a period of floppiness. There then followed various failings including the failure to recognise the seriousness of Luchii’s condition and involve a senior doctor at an early stage, a lack of senior paediatric medical staff available in the emergency department and a delay in administering prescribed antibiotics. On top of that, Hospital staff attempted an unsafe transfer between wards without a stable airway. Sadly, after multiple attempts at resuscitation Luchii passed away that day.
A post mortem was carried out which determined Luchii’s cause of death to be disseminated tuberculosis infection. Following this revelation Luchii’s father, Vlado Gavrilescu, was himself diagnosed with TB. A review of a chest x-ray taken of Vlado at William Harvey Hospital in March 2018 demonstrated signs of TB, which had it been diagnosed and treated then could have prevented this whole sequence of events.
Fairweathers were instructed by Laura to investigate Luchii’s fatality case and a full evidence gathering exercise was launched.
The Trust themselves conducted a full investigation into the case and has now made early admissions confirming that the standard of care provided to Luchii at QEQM fell below that to be expected and that it was these failings that caused his death. They offer their full apologies to family and the case will now look to be settled.
Laura, who has fought for answers tirelessly since the beginning has said ‘Nothing the Trust can ever say or do will bring Luchii back but I am glad that they have owned up to their mistakes and want them now to ensure no family ever has to go through what we have’.
Francesca Beach, Solicitor at Fairweathers with conduct of the case commented: ‘’ I am pleased that the Trust have taken a sensible approach in this case given the number of harrowing failings involved. It is of course a bittersweet victory for the family but it must be hoped that the Trust will now make long lasting changes in its wake. It has been an honour to act for this family in seeking justice for Luchii and we now need to focus on settling the case in order to bring the matter to a full resolution.’
Sadly, Laura and Vlado are one of 12 families Fairweathers represent whose babies have either died or been caused serious lifelong injuries due to the failings of East Kent Trust’s Maternity and Neonatology Services. We are referring cases, including Luchii’s, for review by the Kirkup Enquiry into maternity services at the East Kent Trust.