Heartache at death of Chesterfield baby given drug overdose in hospital

A six-month-old baby was given too much medication leading up to his death at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, his heartbroken parents say.
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It is one of the issues the parents of baby Hunter Martin have raised concerns about since his tragic death.

The baby should have been given 94 milligrams of antibiotic drug Clyndamycin after being admitted to the hospital’s high dependency ward with sepsis.

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However medics at the hospital, which has already admitted the mistake, gave the infant 940 milligrams – 10 times the recommended dose.

Hunter Martin just 12 days before his deathHunter Martin just 12 days before his death
Hunter Martin just 12 days before his death

Hunter’s grieving mum Jade Smith, aged 26, says the high dose was given to Hunter on five separate occasions before his death on March 6 last year.

Care worker Jade said: “We’re just heartbroken, our lives have changed massively.

“And trying to grieve and navigate normal life – for the rest of our lives now we won’t trust the NHS.”

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Hunter died two days after being admitted to hospital on March 4, after being initially diagnosed with chicken pox.

Hunter with mum Jade Smith on the day of his birth, August 19, 2022Hunter with mum Jade Smith on the day of his birth, August 19, 2022
Hunter with mum Jade Smith on the day of his birth, August 19, 2022

Despite the concerns of Jade and her partner Alex Martin, Hunter was sent home with them the next day.

However he was readmitted the following day after they found him “floppy” and “unresponsive” in the morning.

After being diagnosed with sepsis and invasive group A streptococcal disease, Hunter was later transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, however he died of a cardiac arrest that same day.

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Jade, 26, described how a few days after the couple were called to Chesterfield Royal for a meeting and were told staff at the hospital had “overdosed” the tot with the antibiotic drug while he was receiving care there.

Hunter with dad Alex MartinHunter with dad Alex Martin
Hunter with dad Alex Martin

In a letter to the couple, Executive Chief Nurse Krishna Kallianpur, said the incident was being thoroughly investigated.

She said Hunter had been given the antibiotic five times and the dose was prescribed incorrectly at 10 times the actual dose Hunter should have received.

She said: “You have specifically asked whether the staff who gave Hunter the antibiotics are still working at the trust.

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“We have identified that there were eight paediatric nurses involved. All of these are being spoken to individually and are undertaking additional training relating to medicines management and are being supervised.”

Hunter with brother Harvey, Christmas 2022Hunter with brother Harvey, Christmas 2022
Hunter with brother Harvey, Christmas 2022

Speaking about missed opportunities before Hunter’s second hospital admission, Jade and Alex say they are now full of regret that they didn’t “stomp” their feet more before being sent home with Hunter the day before he died.

Hunter had contracted chicken pox from brother Harvey, who has just turned six, the week before his hospital admission.

However, as his condition worsened and the baby stopped eating and drinking, the couple rushed Hunter to A&E in the early hours of March 4.

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The tot had a very high temperature which did not drop below 38.3 degrees.

After being on a ward for 12 hours Hunter was given Ibuprofen to bring his temperature down.

They were sent home that evening with Hunter and, having not slept for four to five nights, the family went to bed early.

When the couple awoke the next morning Hunter was “unresponsive”, “floppy”, “blue” in colour and had “delayed breathing” so they rushed him back to CRH.

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Jade said: “We took him back in and you could see the panic on their faces – it was the first time they could physically see how poorly he was.”

Hunter was admitted to the high-dependency unit, where he was diagnosed with sepsis and invasive group A streptococcal disease.

On the evening of Monday March 6, Hunter was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he died having suffered a cardiac arrest.

Jade said: "We wanted him to have every chance of surviving. We got there and were in the waiting area when someone came running in telling us to come back through.

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“They attempted resuscitation for around six minutes after his cardiac arrest but he was too poorly and couldn’t fight anymore.”

Speaking about Hunter’s care, Jade said: “It’s just terrifying, you get scared now when Harvey gets just a normal cold. Now you’re seeing if he’s got a temperature every two minutes.

“You’re scared to death that it’s going to be something else. I just feel like they completely failed us and it’s flipped our lives upside down.”

Jade and Alex have been told an inquest into Hunter’s death will open in the summer however the couple wanted to warn other parents about their experiences.

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“There have been other cases (inquests) since Hunter which happened before Hunter died that would have possibly spurred us on as parents to think ‘oh, could it be more’”, said Jade.

“My fear is this could happen again. Parents aren’t aware of the complications that chicken pox brings and to just stomp your feet when you take children to medical professionals.

“They obviously aren’t always right and massive mistakes have been made. We just don’t want anymore families being torn apart.

“As parents now we kick ourselves but then you think, ‘is it for us to be saying?’. We feel like it should have been them thinking this.

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“We know from looking at sepsis now that he showed every single sign of sepsis. He was lethargic, he was off his bottle, no urine output, he had diarrhea, he was tired and grumpy.

“This is a baby that was typically the happiest baby as long as he was fed and had a clean nappy...that baby caused us no issues, he slept all night.

“He wasn’t a fussy baby at all, he was textbook and that’s why we were so concerned about him. He had all the signs of sepsis but it was never investigated.

"To know it could have been prevented if they’d listened to us is heartbreaking. As a family we truly believe that if sepsis was picked up Hunter would still be here.

“The errors are unforgivable.”

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A fundraising event for the UK Sepsis Trust in remembrance of Hunter will be held at New Whittington Social Club on May 5 at 1pm.

The event will feature a barbecue, live bands and activities for children.

Mr Kevin Sargen, Medical Director at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We share our deepest condolences with the family and all those affected by the tragic loss of Hunter.

“We are very grateful to Hunter’s family for the work they have done with us on sepsis awareness, and to them we offer our sincere appreciation.

“We are supporting the inquest process, which will establish the cause of death and make any recommendations going forward.”

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