Our son should not have been moved from intensive care, Warminster parents tell inquest

Steve and Yolanda at the coroner's court today for the start of the inquest

Sean Turner

First published in Latest News
Last updated
by , Senior reporter for Trowbridge

The parents of Warminster boy Sean Turner pleaded with staff at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children to keep him in intensive care, an inquest heard today.

Four-year-old Sean Turner was admitted to hospital for vital corrective heart surgery in January 2012 but died in March, six weeks later, from a brain haemorrhage shortly after a cardiac arrest.

His parents, Steve and Yolanda Turner, argue failings at Ward 32 contributed to his death, and that the investigations which followed the fatality are contradictory and inadequate.

Both of Sean’s parents read statements at the hearing, which opened today at Flax Bourton Coroner's Court in Bristol and is expected to last two weeks.

Mrs Turner told the inquest the decision to move her son from the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit to Ward 32 was the "worst decision ever made for Sean".

She said that she and Mr Turner had requested Sean stay in intensive care, adding: "He had too many needs to be on Ward 32."

The inquest heard how Sean was born with his heart on the right side of his body and blocked arteries between his heart and lungs.

He underwent the elective Fontan surgery - designed to help his heart work more efficiently - on January 24 in 2012.

Following the surgery, he spent just 18 hours on the intensive care unit, despite doctors informing the Turners that he would spend around five days there.

He was moved to Ward 32, with staff telling them that his bed was needed, but within hours of the move Sean began vomiting and was unable to keep liquid down.

Mrs Turner said Sean was moved back to the PICU after further surgery to drain fluid build-up around his heart and over 11 days he began to improve, before being moved back to Ward 32 again.

“It was the worst news when the told us he was being returned to Ward 32 because we were told he was not critical and they needed the bed,” Mrs Turner told the inquest.

On February 12, Sean began to throw up once more and complain of a pain in his foot. He also became more and more dehydrated - even sucking moisture from tissues to quench his thirst.

Mrs Turner said: “I could see he was bad but nobody listened. We asked so many times if he could go back to PICU but we were told he was not critical enough.”

Mr Turner said in his statement: “The nurses on Ward 32 cared but did not have the knowledge or know-how to give Sean the level of care he so desperately needed.

“No parent should be put in this situation, in a safe environment - where they have to plead for four days and have him have a cardiac arrest in their arms. We now have to live with that horror.”

The inquest also heard read statements from several members of hospital staff, including Consultant Cardiologist Andrew Tometzki and Ward Sister Sarah Britton.

The inquest continues.

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