14/08/2014 16:51 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Tube Fed Baby Died From Dehydration, Inquest Hears

Sick baby died because parents weren't told to give him water

Parents claim their premature baby died because doctors failed to tell them how to feed him properly.

Ben Claydon, who was born 26 weeks premature, was found dead in his cot when he was a year old after becoming dangerously dehydrated because doctors allegedly failed to tell his parents how to properly tube feed him.

An inquest heard that Ben, who had a range of health problems, including cerebral palsy and short bowel syndrome, had been hooked up to a feeding tube at home to receive proteins and nutrients.

But his parents claim his doctors failed to tell them that they also needed to give him water. Just days before his death, he had been hit with an infection which caused him to vomit severely, meaning he lost valuable fluids.

His gastric nasal feeding tube ensured he got the protein and nutrients he needed, but his parents, who live in Southend, Essex, say they had not been told they also needed to give him water.

Southend coroner Yvonne Blake now plans to write to all hospitals in the area to ask for more advice and support to be given to families to ensure babies get the right amount of fluids.

Recording a narrative verdict, she said: "Ben was a very premature baby with numerous medical problems. He became unwell through dehydration and this combined with his medical conditions contributed to his death.

"However, Southend Hospital, which treated Ben, insists appropriate procedures are in place to educate parents about fluids and feeding tubes.

Wendy Pearson, head of paediatrics, said: "All parents of children discharged with a naso-gastric tube are trained by hospital staff and sign a competency to ensure they know what to do before they go home.

"They are also given information from a consultant and dietician on the right types of feeds and volumes of fluid needed, as the requirements of each patient are very individual.

"We work very closely with the community teams employed by the SEPT to support the parents of paediatric patients discharged with naso-gastric tubes, and the community team provides a 24 hour on call service available to any parent who has concerns or needs advice.

"The community nursing team is also able to refer directly to the paediatric assessment unit here at the hospital if they have concerns that a child may be acutely unwell."