PARENTS

Boy, 8, Died From Chicken Pox Infection Day After Discharge From A &Amp; E

14/08/2014 16:49 | Updated 22 May 2015

Boy, 8, died day after discharge from hospital with chicken pox

A hospital has apologised after an eight-year-old boy died 18 hours after he was sent home with chicken pox.

Richard de Souza from Athy, County Kildare, had been suffering from the common childhood ailment and developed a second infection.

The High Court in Ireland was told he should have been admitted to hospital and treated with intravenous antibiotics.

But Richard died from a streptococcal infection and toxic shock after he was discharged from the emergency department of Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise, Co Laois, in February 2011.

The hospital has since apologised and in a letter read out in court expressed 'sincere sympathy and regret' to Richard's parents, Flavia and Ramon.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine has now approved a settlement for €160,000 in an action taken by the family against the Health Service Executive for wrongful death and nervous shock.

The court was told the boy was taken to hospital in Portlaoise on February 6, 2011, having had chicken pox for a number of days. He had swelling under his arm and cellulitis and was prescribed antibiotics and discharged.

His parents had difficulty finding a pharmacy that Sunday and had to drive to Newbridge to find one.

The boy's condition worsened overnight and he died the following day, 18 hours after his discharge.

Senior Counsel John O'Mahony said the boy had a high temperature and high pulse and heart rate while in the emergency department and should have been admitted to the hospital.

If he had been given intravenous antibiotics it would have saved his life, he said.

The streptococcal infection led to toxic shock syndrome and toxins overwhelmed him, the court heard.

Richard's mother Flavia was pregnant at the time. Her husband Ramon, who is a jockey, was hospitalised after his son's death and she attended the funeral on her own. They were described in court as being 'completely lost' after his death, both suffering post-traumatic stress and requiring ongoing counselling.

An apology was read in court from the hospital to the de Souza family 'in respect of the tragic death of Richard as a result of a streptococcal infection following his attendance and discharge at the emergency department on the evening prior to his death'.

The couple's solicitor Ann Nowlan said they still had many questions surrounding the treatment of their son. They believed his death could have been prevented.

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