A 5-year-old boy with autism passed away after doctors gave him 10 times the standard dose of insulin after he was misdiagnosed with diabetes.
Shay Turner was taken to Rotherham General Hospital but passed away a few days later after suffering from a catastrophic brain injury.
The boy’s parents, 29-year-old Martyn and 28-year-old Laura, said that doctors misdiagnosed Shay’s sepsis as diabetes and gave him ten times the normal dose of insulin.
The parents are now trying to raise money to pay for solicitors to represent them at their child’s inquest.
“There are two major failings that we need answers to – the overdose of insulin and what effect that had on him and the missed sepsis,” said Ms. Turner.
“So far nobody has told us the truth and we want to know what happened to our son.
“On Good Friday Shay was unwell – he looked tired, he kept saying he couldn’t go to the toilet, he wanted to drink but couldn’t keep any water down and kept being sick.
“I thought he had caught a bug but by the time his dad came home from work Shay looked grey and we decided to go to A&E.”
The parents took their son to hospital along with his 9-year-old sibling Finnley. Doctors recorded Shay’s blood sugar levels and he was diagnosed as diabetic.
“At this point we were really concerned no-one knew what they were doing. It was obvious Shay was very unwell but it felt like sheer panic at the hospital,” Ms. Turner expressed.
“We were really worried – no-one was telling us what was happening and Shay was in a lot of pain and discomfort.
“I told Martyn to take Finnley home because I knew it didn’t look good.”
Shay was given insulin ten times the standard dose for two hours. They have since learned insulin is measured per kg and should be given out between 0.1ml and 0.5ml per kg.
At 18kg, the maximum amount the 5-year-old should receive was 1.8ml but he was given 18ml instead.
“A paediatric consultant came to speak to me around 11pm and said “due to the laws of transparency” they had to tell me about the incorrect dosage,” Ms. Turner added.
“I asked him what this meant and he said, ‘I honestly don’t know’.”
Shay eventually became unconscious and the parents were placed in another room.
“It was horrendous – they weren’t telling us anything and we had a nurse keeping guard at the door,” Laura said.
Doctors and nurses worked on the young boy trying to stabilize him. “We were told they needed to move him onto a stretcher but even though it was only centimeters, he was so poorly they didn’t know if he would make it.”
Shay arrived at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the parents talked to the consultant Rotherham Hospital had been coordinating with throughout the night.
The boy’s stomach was severely swollen and the consultant said they needed to operate as his heat and lungs were being crushed.
“When they opened him up, they discovered his large intestine had died. It was then the surgeon said it could have been sepsis that caused the problem,” Laura said.
“As soon as they removed his intestine, his vitals improved dramatically. Even though he wasn’t conscious and was still on life support, we had some hope.”
CT scan confirmed that Shay had suffered a catastrophic brain injury. The consultant explained that the kindest thing to do for their boy would be to let him go.
“I was adamant that we shouldn’t, that it was the wrong thing,” Ms. Turner expressed.
“But the consultant explained about the level of damage done and I realised it was the only thing we could do.”
The autopsy report revealed Shay died from multiple organ failure. It also concluded that he didn’t have diabetes.
South Yorkshire Police launched a 10-month investigation into the boy’s death but the mother said no further action is being taken.
“We don’t know how to carry on without him. It’s destroyed our whole lives,” Laura said.
“Finnley is heartbroken – he doesn’t know what to do without his little brother.
“It’s had such a huge affect on all of us and we want somebody to be held accountable.
“Shay was overdosed and he was misdiagnosed at Rotherham General Hospital and it terrifies me that they are still treating people.”
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