‘We must get to the truth’

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Coroner’s pledge to inquest into tragic hospital death of Doncaster boy

A four-year-boy died tragically after inhaling vomit while he lay in a hospital bed suffering from acute gastroenteritis, an inquest heard.

Little Daniel Hames, known to his family as Dan Dan, was admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on May 3, 2013, after suffering a bout of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Doncaster Coroner’s Court heard he had been hospitalised with the same condition in June 2012.

But assistant coroner John Sleightholme said: “It is important we do our best to get to the truth.”

“Let’s be clear, a child going into hospital with gastroenteritis – you don’t expect them to die.”

On the second occasion, in 2013, Daniel, of Balby, Doncaster, had been feeling unwell and an ambulance was called in the early hours of the morning.

He was rushed to hospital and admitted to the accident and emergency department at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Daniel’s mum, Christina Smith, said in her evidence yesterday that he began to complain of pain in his stomach and had severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

The inquest heard he was examined in A&E and then admitted to a ward where he was later seen by a paediatrician.

Miss Smith told the inquest her son was examined again, and while that was happening he asked for a drink and was given some weak blackcurrant.

After Daniel was checked over she said she went to sleep in a chair beside him – and the next thing she was aware of was a nurse checking her son.

“I jumped up and I just saw my son lying there.

He was on his back, not moving,” she said.

“I said to him, ‘Don’t leave me, don’t leave me’.”

Daniel had died with his mother beside him.

His death was pronounced at 7.39am.

The cause of death was given as acute aspiration of stomach contents caused by acute gastroenteritis.

The inquest continues today.