Better links needed between paediatric and adult care in South Yorkshire, inquest hears

COURT: Court Case
COURT: Court Case

The death of a Sheffield woman has highlighted a need for greater links between child and adult services, a coroner says.

Sarah Brown, of Norton, died at the city’s Northern General Hospital, in Fir Vale, on Tuesday, December 9, aged 20, after contracting an infection which made it difficult for her to breathe.

Sarah had cerebral palsy following complications surrounding her birth and required around-the-clock care.

Her inquest this week heard that, although the infection was not particularly serious, her existing medical conditions made her more susceptible.

Chris Dorries, Sheffield coroner, was told Sarah had been under the care of the Sheffield Children’s Hospital until she became an adult, when she was transferred to adult services.

Her family had little contact with doctors in adult critical care until she was admitted to hospital on December 5.

Dr Danielle Bryden said a ‘difficult’ conversation was had with Sarah’s parents a few days later to discuss changing her treatment to symptom control.

She said managing the transition between paediatric and adult care had been looked at since her death.

She said there had been a rise in youngsters who will require adult critical care and difficult conversations about their treatment need to be had before they become acutely unwell.

She said: “It is better for everyone to have these conversations and to think about them rather than having them when someone is acutely unwell.”

Returned a narrative verdict at Sheffield Coroner’s Court, Mr Dorries said he will be writing to the relevant authorities about better communication.