Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Apology over ambulance wait death of boy aged 10

Kieran Howard
Kieran had a brain bleed and waited 15 hours for specialist treatment

An NHS trust has apologised over the death of a 10-year-old Kent boy who waited seven hours for an ambulance.

Kieran Howard, who had a brain bleed, died from natural causes contributed to by neglect, a coroner in London ruled.

An inquest at Southwark Crown Court heard he was taken to three hospitals and emergency staff failed to diagnose the severity of his condition.

Dr Wilson Bolsover, from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS, said the trust was sorry for "not doing our level best".

The trust runs the Pembury Hospital and the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells.

Harrowing ordeal

There was a seven-hour delay in moving Kieran from Pembury Hospital to St Thomas's Hospital in London because ambulance crews were "too busy", the inquest heard.

He was eventually taken to King's College Hospital in London but never regained consciousness.

It took 15 hours for him to receive specialist treatment in April 2008.

A legal team representing Kieran's parents, Jason and Vanessa Howard, told the hearing that the family, from Fordcombe, could have been spared a harrowing ordeal.

Dr Bolsover said "every lesson that can be learnt, will be learnt".

He said: "We accept the coroner's findings fully and have already made significant improvements.

"These include re-emphasising the need for children with diminished consciousness to be taken to Kent and Sussex Hospital first for a CT scan.

"This protocol has been shared with the local ambulance service."

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