A HOSPITAL doctor apologised in court today to the family of a five-year-old boy who died from an overdose of an epilepsy drug, saying she made a mistake with his emergency medication.
Dr Helen Moore asked the coroner if she could make a short statement when she gave evidence at the inquest into the death of Bailey Ratcliffe who died at Dewsbury District Hospital in 2009.
Bailey was epileptic and was brought into the hospital's accident and emergency department suffering the worst fit his family had ever experienced.
Bradford Coroners Court heard how Bailey was given the drug phenytoin on the orders of Dr Moore, who was a paediatric registrar called to help deal with the youngster's life-threatening condition.
Before giving details of what happened to the court, the doctor turned to Bailey's mother Carrianne Ratcliffe and said: "I just wanted to say it's with tremendous sorrow I find myself here today."
Dr Moore said this was not only for the mistakes that were made but also for the fact it had taken "three-and-a-half years to see you face-to-face and say how sincerely sorry I am for these mistakes".
Ms Ratcliffe and other members of her family were in tears as the doctor made the apology.
Bradford Coroner Peter Straker heard how Bailey had been fitting for three hours when he arrived at the hospital on May 27, 2009.
Dr Moore described how he had been given other drugs by his family, paramedics and A&E staff to try and control the fitting but she decided it was time to move on to phenytoin.
But the doctor admitted she made a mistake in the dosage instructions when she asked a junior doctor to prescribe the drug.
Dr Moore told the court how she thinks she got confused in her mind with the procedures for administering a different drug used in cases of severe asthma.
She said: "I just made a mistake."
And Dr Moore said: "I just got confused. I don't know why - on this day, at that time."
The court heard how Bailey was transferred to a paediatric ward in the hospital but, later that afternoon, on November 27, 2009, he began to deteriorate and stopped breathing.
A full resuscitation team was called in but it could not save his life.
Under questioning from the coroner, Dr Moore said it had been a very busy day as she was the only paediatric registrar on duty.
She said it was "a day that had some stress elements, a lot going on I needed to try and cover".
She said her department was already dealing with premature twins which were causing concern when Bailey was brought in.
She said her consultant stayed with the twins and was not involved with Bailey in the accident and emergency department.
Pathologist Professor Philip Batman told the court Bailey's cause of death was phenytoin toxicity complicated by his epilepsy.
The inquest continues and is expected to finish later this week.