Matthew Kenway Inquest

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on

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On Thursday 24 and Friday 25 January 2013 HM Coroner for Southampton and New Forest District, Mr Keith St John Wiseman, will conduct the inquest in to the circumstances of the death of Mathew Kenway. He was nearly five-years-old when he died in Southampton General Hospital on 16 December 2010, having suffered from a cardiac arrest. It will be considered whether shortcomings in the care Mathew received may be linked to his death.

Mathew suffered from a congenital condition in his muscles that made them weaker than usual, so he relied upon a home ventilator and had a tracheostomy to maintain his breathing. He also had to have a feeding tube in to his stomach. His parents provided devoted 24-hour care for him with assistance from a team of overnight carers. In spite of the medical problems, Mathew was bright and cheerful and he attended St Francis School in Fareham. He was looking forward to going to a mainstream school when he was older.

In December 2010 Mathew was admitted to hospital because his breathing had got slightly worse and he had pain in the left loin. The pain was being caused by kidney stones and on 15 December 2010 Matthew underwent an operation to bypass the blockage by the insertion of a tube up to his left kidney.

After the operation Mathew was looked after on the paediatric high dependency unit. Shortly after 03.00 hours in the morning, the oxygen monitor probe appeared not to be recording anything. The nurse thought the machine may be faulty initially but it transpired that Mathew’s heart had stopped. Eventually a cardiac arrest call was put out and the arrest team then attempted, for forty minutes until 04.20 hours, to resuscitate Mathew but they were unsuccessful and he died.

The inquest will call witnesses from the hospital’s nursing, paediatric and anaesthetic staff to give evidence as to what happened, as well as the pathologist who conducted the post mortem.

Mr John White, the head of BL Claims Clinical Negligence team who will be representing the family at the hearing, said: “There are serious questions to be answered about how it was that Mathew’s heart stopped beating when he was on the high dependency unit and that it was not detected and acted upon straight away. I hope very much we will get to the truth of what happened and important lessons can be learned that will avoid another tragedy such as occurred in this situation."

Mathew’s parents, Mr Anthony Kenway and Ms Katie Oxley said: “Mathew’s death has devastated us and changed us forever. We miss him so much. We just cannot understand how things can have gone so wrong, so quickly that night."

It is expected that the inquest will be heard over two days before the Coroner reaches his verdict.

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About the Author

Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
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023 8085 7310

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