Twin who survived early birth falls victim to sepsis: tragedy strikes after basic medical blunder

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Born at just 25 weeks, Alfie and his twin brother Ben were given a one in six chance of survival.

Despite doctors’ fears, they defied the odds – only for tragedy to strike ten years later following a basic medical blunder.

Alfie Scambler-Holt was taken to casualty after his mother found him grey and struggling to breathe.

The only consultant on duty in A&E started treatment for severe sepsis, but efforts to administer vital fluid and antibiotics were hampered by difficulties inserting a cannula.

The story of Alfie and Ben’s fight for life, pictured with their mother, Candice, was featured in the Daily Mail a decade ago. Alfie was just 1lb 15oz with 15 holes in his bowel and bleeding on his brain. Born at just 25 weeks, Alfie and his twin brother Ben were given a one in six chance of survival. An inquest is being held into Alfie's death, after he stopped breathing while at hospital, and could not be resuscitated

The story of Alfie and Ben’s fight for life, pictured with their mother, Candice, was featured in the Daily Mail a decade ago. Alfie was just 1lb 15oz with 15 holes in his bowel and bleeding on his brain. Born at just 25 weeks, Alfie and his twin brother Ben were given a one in six chance of survival. An inquest is being held into Alfie's death, after he stopped breathing while at hospital, and could not be resuscitated

The story of Alfie and Ben’s fight for life, pictured with their mother, Candice, was featured in the Daily Mail a decade ago. Alfie was just 1lb 15oz with 15 holes in his bowel and bleeding on his brain. Born at just 25 weeks, Alfie and his twin brother Ben were given a one in six chance of survival. An inquest is being held into Alfie’s death, after he stopped breathing while at hospital, and could not be resuscitated

The boys' mother Candice told yesterday’s inquest in Stockport that no one mentioned sepsis and she thought Alfie was being treated for a chest infection. Wiping tears from her eyes, she said: ‘I just wish they’d told me how poorly he was. For the past couple of years of his life he was as fit and healthy as he could be'

The boys' mother Candice told yesterday’s inquest in Stockport that no one mentioned sepsis and she thought Alfie was being treated for a chest infection. Wiping tears from her eyes, she said: ‘I just wish they’d told me how poorly he was. For the past couple of years of his life he was as fit and healthy as he could be'

The boys’ mother Candice told yesterday’s inquest in Stockport that no one mentioned sepsis and she thought Alfie was being treated for a chest infection. Wiping tears from her eyes, she said: ‘I just wish they’d told me how poorly he was. For the past couple of years of his life he was as fit and healthy as he could be’

It took an hour to establish a stable line into his vein and begin treatment on Alfie. His condition appeared to stabilise, but ten hours after he was admitted he stopped breathing and could not be resuscitated.

Their mother Candice told yesterday’s inquest in Stockport that no one mentioned sepsis and she thought Alfie was being treated for a chest infection. Wiping tears from her eyes, she said: ‘I just wish they’d told me how poorly he was. For the past couple of years of his life he was as fit and healthy as he could be.’

The story of Alfie and Ben’s fight for life was featured in the Daily Mail a decade ago. Alfie was just 1lb 15oz with 15 holes in his bowel and bleeding on his brain.

The boy, who had cerebral palsy, became ill on June 3 last year and an ambulance took him to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport. 

Paramedic Andrew Hibbs told the hearing it was clear Alfie’s condition was life-threatening.

He sent ahead a ‘red standby’ alert and Alfie was met on arrival by a resuscitation team.

Ward staff briefly managed to insert a line and began giving Alfie vital fluids, but the line came out and took an hour to reinsert. Dr Leila Dilamy, the paediatric registrar who took over Alfie’s care, insisted the delay in inserting a cannula hadn’t been a factor because antibiotics had still been commenced within an hour.

Dr Dilamy also said she had wrongly assumed that on-call consultant paediatrician Carol Heap would see Alfie on her rounds.

Asked by coroner Alison Mutch whether in retrospect she would have done anything differently, Dr Dilamy said she wished she had ‘asked openly for Dr Heap’s help, for her to come and see Alfie’.

However, she stressed she had followed guidelines for sepsis throughout. Holding back tears as she looked across at Alfie’s mother she insisted: ‘I was doing my best for Alfie and his family. Looking back on things it may be that we just hadn’t got on top of it.’

The Daily Mail’s End the Sepsis Scandal campaign has battled to raise awareness of the condition, which is tough to diagnose until it is too late. It is the leading cause of avoidable deaths in Britain, claiming at least 44,000 lives a year.

The hearing continues.