Distraught parents highly critical of coroner and demand new inquest into death of disabled son ‘killed by milk formula’

Distraught parents highly critical of coroner and demand new inquest into death of disabled son ‘killed by milk formula’

- in Usa News

THE parents of a lactose intolerant boy who fear their son died in a scandal-hit hospital from an allergic reaction to milk are demanding a new inquest after criticising the coroner.

Jonnie Meek was three years old when he died three hours after being admitted to Stafford Hospital in August, 2014.

SWNS:South West News Service

John Meek, 46, and April Keeling, 33, are calling for a new inquest after their lactose-intolerant baby son died in hospital[/caption]

SWNS:South West News Service

Jonnie Meek was just three when he died at Stafford Hospital[/caption]

His heartbroken mum and dad John Meek, 46, and April Keeling, 33, of Cannock, Staffs., claim the first inquest neglected key information.

An original inquest ruled little Jonnie died by natural causes, but an investigation called for a fresh hearing and attacked a “closed culture within the NHS”.

The damning report followed accusations the hospital attempted to cover up its failings by forging statements from staff.

It emerged that milk given by medics may have killed the baby, who had a rare genetic condition called de Grouchy syndrome.


Today, the parents applied for a new hearing to be held in a different jurisdiction during a heated 45-minute hearing at Cannock Coroner’s Court.

Speaking after today’s hearing, Mr Meek said: “The first inquest was absolutely useless.

“None of it was the truth. This could have been dealt with five years ago.”

The parents were highly critical of South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh, who handled the case management of the first inquest.

Mr Haigh agreed to apply for a new inquest, claiming “the family clearly don’t like me” after sending him an “offensive” letter.

The coroner said: “I find the letter to be highly inaccurate and actually quite offensive.

The first inquest was absolutely useless. None of it was the truth. This could have been dealt with five years ago

John Meek

“Having heard these representations, I am concerned by perceived bias.”

Andrew Bousfield, representing the family, said: “The family’s position is that the story the hospital were able to give was in some way a limited story.

“There was a refusal at the initial inquest to allow attendance of middle-grade doctors.”

During the hearing, family members interrupted the coroner to tell him “you are being very defensive” and “this is about little Johnny”.

The previous inquest heard the boy suffered from “complex health problems”, including the rare congenital disability de Grouchy syndrome and lactose intolerance.


He was fed by a tube into his stomach and doctors were trying him on the new feed on the day he died.

An initial post-mortem recorded “no reason to suspect the change of feed played a part in the death”.

But a complaint by the parents – who said the first verdict was “ridiculous” – led to an independent review by consultant pediatrician Dr Martin Farrier in October 2015.

He said the “most likely” cause was an allergic reaction to the new feed.

A further review cited “asthma exacerbation”, allergic reaction and administration of a “less hypoallergenic milk”.

The initial verdict was quashed and a second inquest ordered by the High Court.

No date was set for a new inquest.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which ran Stafford Hospital, was at the centre of one of the worst scandals in NHS history which led to the premature deaths of up to 1,200 patients.

Dr John Oxtoby, Medical Director at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said: “This is an incredibly sad incident, which took place at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and we will work with the coroner’s office as best we can and support our staff and former colleagues so it can reach a conclusion.

“Inpatient paediatric services are no longer provided in Stafford, and the renamed County Hospital has seen a number of developments and improvements since services integrated with Royal Stoke University Hospital.”

SWNS:South West News Service

Little Jonnie died in 2014 in scandal-hit Stafford Hospital

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