Parents fear for the welfare of their children following tragic death of eight-year-old schoolboy - The Evesham Observer

Parents fear for the welfare of their children following tragic death of eight-year-old schoolboy

Evesham Editorial 11th Mar, 2017   0

PARENTS say they fear for the welfare of their children following the tragic death of eight-year-old schoolboy Callum Cartlidge.

Callum’s family lived just three minutes 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 – 19 miles away.

It has also been reported that the paramedics asked to take young Callum to the Alex but were told to go to Worcester instead.

Despite racing there under blue lights and sirens in just 23 minutes, the youngster died at the hospital leaving his family devastated – and demanding answers.




The tragedy has also struck fear into the hearts of parents who say they now simply do not know what to do if their child falls ill.

It is understood that young Callum fell ill last Tuesday and was sent by his GP to Worcestershire Royal with possible tonsillitis or a tummy bug on Thursday.


He was treated and sent home but then tragically suffered a cardiac arrest on Friday afternoon.

Neal Stote, the former chairman of the Save the Alex campaign who has children of his own 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.”

An 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. The ambulance left scene for Worcestershire Royal Hospital with the crew continuing to treat the patient; it arrived at hospital 23 minutes later.

“Having reviewed the case, there is no doubt 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

“Until our investigations have been completed we cannot comment further.”

 What should you do if your child falls ill?

The Observer asked the Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust and a spokesperson told us:

“Children who are seriously ill will go directly to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where they will be seen and assessed by expert children’s teams.

The majority of children will be able to return home the same day and for those requiring a hospital stay will be cared for in the dedicated children’s ward.

“Parents are encouraged to take their sick child who might need a hospital bed to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

“However, should a child be presented to A&E at Alexandra Hospital and need to see a paediatrician, they will be transferred to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

“We advise that all seriously ill children are taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.”

The full information leaflet and FAQs are available at http://bit.ly/2mKH8bV .

Observer readers speak of outrage

The tragedy sparked outrage among Observer readers on social media, here are a few of the many comments from our Facebook page.

Ruthie Tink S: “Over the years as our towns have massively increased in size the Government has gradually REDUCED our hospital services. They are responsible for this boy’s death!”

Helen Brighton: “We are going backwards instead of forwards. Completely unacceptable.“Our lives in the Government’s hands.

“How devastating for this poor family and the people who tried to help him.

“What are they trying to achieve by putting everyone under so much pressure? Completely ridiculous.”

Rachel Gauder: “It was only a matter of time before it happened.“Enough is enough. The Government needs to get its act together and bring back maternity and paediatrics and the stroke unit.

“RIP little man. Best wishes to the family. Praying you get justice.”

Debra Jones: “This is so unbelievable my heart goes out to his family.“I think the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust needs to be totally finished and put into special measures until a new management team are employed.

“Absolutely useless. “These people should hang there heads in shame.”

“My thoughts are with his family.”

Sue Taylor: “Won’t they ever learn and why is no one listening?“A caring society ??”

Andrew Rea: “So sad and makes me so angry. This country needs to get its house order and stop sending so much money abroad and start spending it at home. “Fund our hospitals properly and focus on the people here then maybe these senseless tragedies wouldn’t happen.“Thoughts with the family”

Adrian Stowe: “Heartbreaking. Indicative of the devastation NHS defunding causes.”

Tom Poole: “I don’t think condolences from the Local Health trust are going to be sufficient on this case.“Redditch and the surrounding areas need a full functioning A&E unit.

“Human life is important. This Government is making a mess of things and a mess of the NHS.

“Redditich needs an A&E. This boy, his family needed them. But they failed him.

“Things must change. The Conservative Party needs to get it’s priorities straight. We all need to pay a little more to secure and invest in local health services.

“Health is the most important thing. Life is important. Money is not so important. I’ll pay a little more to make sure my friends, family and community have a safety net when and if we need it.

“I think others will too”

Tracy Williams: “Sad, anger and dismay please vote this Government out when you get the chance.“So awful for all that knew him.”

Robert Underwood: “So angry and upset for all the family right now.“Just hope the family get answers they deserve.

“God bless Callum, rest in peace sweet heart.

“Thoughts and prayers to all family and friends.

“Heart-breaking.”

Nicola De Sousa: “ENOUGH. This is devastating.“The Worcestershire Royal cannot cope.

“There is no justification for removing services from Redditch.”

Stephanie Freeman: “This is terrible and I really feel for the parents.“We need our hospital!”

Sarah Halsall: “Heartbreaking!“Words can’t explain! RIP little man.

“Something seriously needs doing to get this pressure off our hospital and reopen the Alex fully.”

Robert Warman: “What is going on with this country?“The NHS was the envy of the world.

“It’s being drained of funds to justify privatisation.

“A Government that really cared about Its people would give health unlimited resources.

“My heart goes out to the boys family.”

Mandy Holder: “Disgusting and shocking. Every town needs a hospital. How many innocent lives are going to be lost?”

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