For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Family counts the cost of failings in meningitis victim's care
Since William Cressey’s death from meningitis in 2005, his devastated mother Cheryl has publicly and relentlessly sought to bring medical professionals accountable for his care. The death of William’s grandfather, Ronald Bamlett, has pulled the ongoing grief of William’s entire family into sharper focus. Andy Walker reports.
WHEN William Cressey died at Darlington Memorial Hospital, eight years ago, his mother’s world was turned upside down.
Cheryl Cressey has fought tirelessly, since that fateful day, to hold to account those she feels are guilty of letting down her son.
Mrs Cressey is the first to admit that her efforts have not turned out as she might have hoped.
Clinicians and nursing staff who looked after William have faced hearing after hearing, probing every detail of the treatment he received – no one has been struck off.
Last October, consultant paediatrician Malik Alam was given a warning after being found guilty of a string of failings over William’s care.
In what the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service (MPTS) found amounted to serious misconduct, Dr Alam failed to examine William properly and delayed the administration of potentially life-saving drugs.
Despite this, the MPTS panel ruled that his fitness to practice was not impaired, a decision Mrs Cressey branded disgraceful.
Then, earlier this year, nurse Christopher Kirby faced being struck off after a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel heard he did not carry out regular observations or make notes about William’s condition.
He is also said to have told the youngster ‘just don’t touch it’ when he complained about his pus-covered eyes.
As with Dr Alam, Mr Kirby was not found unfit to practice despite his conduct falling well below what was expected by the NMC.
Mr Bamlett’s death in a burning car, parked opposite the house where William once lived, serves as a reminder of the lasting impact the death of a child can have.
It is believed Mr Bamlett poured petrol on himself before setting himself alight, having made a final poignant pilgrimage to William’s grave, where he laid 12 red roses.
Mrs Cressey called her father’s death ‘the cost of clinical negligence’.
She said: “He could not bear that no one had been punished for what happened to Will.
“When the Kirby case ended, I told my Dad what had happened and he just wailed and cried.
“This is the cost of clinical negligence, it led my father to a point in his mind where the only option was to die.
“He could not bear to live with the impact of what this has done to him.
“He was a desperately unhappy man, he just could not bear it any more.
“There was nothing he could do to put any of it right and he couldn’t bear it, he just felt so helpless and it became too much.
“He couldn’t cope, he got to the point where he would rather burn himself to death than live one more minute with that pain in his heart.”
The hospital trust has extended its condolences to the family.