AN investigation has been launched after an eight year-old boy from Redditch died at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Callum Cartlidge reportedly lived just three minutes away from the Alexandra Hospital but the ambulance crew, following a protocol in place since September to not take seriously ill children to the Alex, instead went to Worcestershire Royal.
Despite racing there under blue lights and sirens in a journey that only took 23 minutes, the lad died at the hospital leaving his family devastated and demanding answers.
It is understood Callum fell ill last Tuesday and was sent by his GP to Worcestershire Royal with possible tonsilitis or a tummy bug on Thursday.
He was treated and sent home, allegedly at 11pm at night, but then tragically suffered a cardiac arrest on Friday afternoon.
Neal Stote, the former chairman of the Save the Alex campaign said: “This is dreadful, dreadful shocking news.
“An enquiry has to be held to find out how this happened but the trust had been warned countless times of something like this – it makes a mockery of having the red Accident & Emergency sign for the Alex.
“Are they trying tell us that they didn’t have the kit or the expertise to help that child at the Alex?
“In that case why the red sign for A&E? Parents would go to the Moon to help their child but it’s no good if they don’t know which is the right place to take them.
“It breaks my heart – I spent 11 years trying to save that A&E department – if it’s no more than a minor injuries unit then for goodness sake front up and say it,” added Mr Stote, who admitted that when one of his own children fell ill he took her to Birmingham Children’s Hospital rather that use Worcestershire Royal.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called to an address in Redditch at 3.26pm on Friday, March 3 to reports of an eight year old boy in cardiac arrest.
“A rapid response vehicle arrived five minutes after the call. The paramedic immediately started life support.
“An ambulance arrived shortly afterwards. Together the three members of staff performed advanced life support.
“The ambulance left scene for Worcestershire Royal Hospital at 3.42pm with the crew continuing to treat the patient; it arrived at hospital 23 minutes later, at 4.05pm.
“Having reviewed the case, there is no doubt that the ambulance staff did absolutely everything possible to help the child.
“Our thoughts remain with his family.”
A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We can confirm that a patient died on Friday afternoon at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. The trust offers sincere condolences to the family.”
“As with any sudden unexpected death in childhood there will be a referral to the coroner, a post mortem and a full external SUDIC (Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants and Children) investigation as well as our own internal processes for an SI investigation.
“Until our investigations have been completed we cannot comment further.”