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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Battery death hospital criticised
Adam and Melanie Denley
Adam and Melanie Denley said staff should have listened to them
Parents of a 13-month-old child who died after doctors failed to spot he had swallowed a battery have criticised the hospital involved.

Cameron Denley, from Renishaw in Derbyshire, died 11 days after he began having breathing difficulties.

In that time two GPs said he had a viral infection, a diagnosis repeated when he was finally admitted to Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

An inquest jury said the hospital had not listened to requests for an X-ray.

His parents, Adam and Melanie, felt some of the medical staff should have paid more attention to them.
Parent's Plea
Cameron Denley
We feel we've been let down and we've put trust in people that haven't come up with the goods
Adam Denley

Mr Denley said: "An X-ray would have shown up this foreign body. It just stuck out like a sore thumb.

"It would have been the clinching part of having a chance to correct the illness that Cameron actually had, rather than the illness that they diagnosed."

"I honestly do think that in the future if anybody does have any concerns the best two people that know their children and their children's habits are obviously their parents."

He added: "If nothing gets done, keep shouting louder and louder and louder until somebody listens to you.

"Because, in this case, this is where we feel we've been let down and we've put trust in people that haven't come up with the goods."

'Infection' diagnosed

His parents first noticed a problem on 21 March 2004, when Cameron began wheezing and had difficulty drinking.

In the next nine days they twice took him to GPs who said he was suffering from an infection that was going around.

When Cameron's weight dropped 2lbs in eight days and he became increasingly listless, they rang an on-call GP who immediately sent him to hospital.

There Cameron was again diagnosed as having an infection.

Despite Mr Denley's suggestion he might have swallowed something, Cameron was not X-rayed.

He died two days later and the post mortem revealed a small camera battery lodged in his throat, which had damaged his windpipe.

Further action

An inquest jury returned an unusual narrative verdict on 24 June, which criticised the Chesterfield Royal for not taking on board the concerns of the parents or the GP who referred Cameron.

But coroner Tom Kelly pointed out that even had the battery been spotted, there was no guarantee an operation would have been successful.

Eric Morton, chief executive of Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital NHS Trust, sent his condolences to the parents and gave this statement: "They have suffered a tragic loss in their lives and been through an extremely traumatic situation.

"We completely sympathise with the distress this experience has caused for them.

"The staff who cared for Cameron have been deeply affected and we have offered them support."

The Denleys, who said they had no idea where the battery came from, are considering taking further action.

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