Families and lawyers say failings at Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust are devastating lives 


The mum of a little boy who nearly died from sepsis despite his family raising the alarm about his deteriorating condition multiple times with Pennine Acute hospitals says she never wants any other child to suffer as he did.

Emma Holt, of Castleton Rochdale, mum to Harley Holt (now four), commented:  “I knew Harley was extremely unwell but the doctors said he was fine and it was just a virus. When they repeatedly tell you that there’s nothing to worry about you start to believe them even though my instinct was telling me it was more serious which drove me to keep taking him to hospital. I never want any other child to suffer the way he did, I feel there were missed opportunities to help Harley.” 

Sally Leonards, a partner in JMW’s medical negligence team, is now investigating a medical negligence claim against the hospital trust for Harley. She commented: “Harley’s story is the stuff of nightmares for any parent and the care issues that have so far been revealed are very worrying.

“Harley’s is just one of almost 30 cases of alleged patient safety failures we are handling against Pennine Acute, which also include delays in diagnosis that have led to deaths. Too often NHS policies have not been followed and families who knew something was wrong have been fobbed off. Addressing this must be a priority if the safety of patients on even the most basic level is to be protected.” 

Harley was just two when he developed a severe rash all over his body and a sore throat, fever and cough in January 2015. He was referred by his GP to Royal Oldham on 16 January but was sent home. 

On 17 January after becoming increasingly concerned about Harley’s worsening condition Emma took him to the paediatric emergency unit at North Manchester General. However he was again sent home, this time by a junior doctor when he should have been referred to a more senior doctor. Emma was told by doctors that Harley was suffering from a virus and there was nothing to worry about. However after she took Harley to Fairfield Hospital on 19 January he was transferred to North Manchester Hospital where it was finally recognised that he was suffering from a severe infection and he was by that point fighting for his life. 

Harley was diagnosed with septic shock and Emma was given the devastating news that he might not survive. Thankfully Harley pulled through after a very difficult time but as a result of the infection he will be permanently disfigured and he has been left with left foot drop. 

A critical internal investigation report by Pennine Acute highlights numerous concerns about the care provided to Harley, including inadequate and incomplete observations taken, discharged from North Manchester General by a junior doctor without senior review, lack of recognition of an unwell child and chance for escalation of care missed. 


For more information:

Kelly Hindle

D. 0161 828 1868

E. Kelly.hindle@jmw.co.uk 

Note to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones. For more than a decade he and his team have advised and represented thousands of victims of clinical negligence, and their relatives, and have obtained over £100 million in compensation for their clients, as well as providing the answers as to why their medical treatment has gone wrong.


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