Hospital Kills 6-Year-Old Boy With Down Syndrome, Mistakenly Thought He Had DNR Order

International   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Oct 7, 2015   |   12:06PM   |   London, England

In England, a six-year-old boy with Down syndrome died at Leicester Royal Infirmary after his doctor mistakenly thought he was under a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. Now the medical staff involved in his death face manslaughter with gross negligence charges.

The Daily Mail reports that Dr. Hadiza Bawa-Garba saw Jack Adcock when he was first admitted for pneumonia but stopped medical staff from giving him life-saving treatment. The doctor alleges that she confused him for another patient who was treated earlier in the day. Tragically, the boy died about 11-hours later from cardiac arrest after sepsis triggered a bacterial infection.

The prosecutor involved in the case, Andrew Thomas QC, called Dr. Bawa-Garba mishap a “remarkable error.” He also argued that she failed to give the boy sufficient care and should be held responsible for her actions.

Thomas said, “We say that Jack’s death was caused wholly or in part by serious neglect on the part of the team on the Children’s Assessment Unit. During this critical period an event occurred which you may think is powerful evidence of Dr. Bawa-Garba’s performance that day. When she came into the bay, almost immediately she called the resuscitation off. She told the other doctors Jack had been marked down as Do Not Resuscitate earlier in the day.”

He concluded, “It was a remarkable error for a doctor to make. Dr. Bawa-Garba was later to explain she had mixed Jack up with another child she had been treating on the Children’s Assessment Unit.”


In court, Jack’s parents, Victor and Nicola Adcock, testified that their son had a “tricky start” to life and was on daily medication for heart problems. However, they also said that he was lively, energetic and thriving at the mainstream elementary school he was attending.

Although Prosecutor Thomas did mention that Jack’s sickness was “beyond the point of no return” and resuscitation would have been “futile,” his death was premature and possibly could have been avoided if nurses Theresa Taylor and Isabel Amaro evaluated him properly when he arrived at the hospital. This is why they have been charged with manslaughter through gross negligence just like Dr. Bawa-Garba.

The prosecutor told the court that they mistakenly gave him a Pediatric Observation Priority Score (Pops) of four when it should have been higher because he was in critical condition. Currently, the trial is expected to last up to five weeks and all three defendants have denied the charges against them.