‘Multiple failings’ blamed for death of Jade

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A mother who repeatedly told health professionals that her severely disabled daughter’s hospital bed was faulty found her dead after she fell out and suffocated on plastic sheeting, a court heard.

Jade Norton, 10, who could not walk or talk, became trapped between the mattress and the vinyl sheeting when a side rail gave way after she suffered an epileptic seizure at her Blackpool home in June 2011, the court heard.

She was sleeping in a bed with rails that were blatantly not safe

HSE prosecutor Lisa Roberts

Jade, who was diagnosed with the rare disorder Rett Syndrome, had been prescribed the adult BaKare Klearside bed with railings to stop her from rolling out.

But despite Jade’s parents, Amanda and Lee, reporting that the bed rail was broken on five separate occasions from March 2011, no remedial action was taken, the court heard.

Preston Crown Court was told that there had been “multiple failings” from the Blackpool Primary Healthcare Trust and North Lancashire Primary Care Trust, as well as the company hired to give care to Jade – Advantage Health Care Ltd – now known as Interserve Health Care Ltd.

They each admitted two counts of health and safety breaches and will be sentenced on Tuesday morning.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecutor Miss Lisa Roberts said that failings went as far back as four years, with the North Lancashire Primary Care Trust having no record that the adult bed was in existence.

She added that the bed had not been adequately assessed or inspected, no risk assessments had been undertaken despite Jade’s frequent fits, and faults had not been recorded.

Miss Roberts said: “She was sleeping in a bed with rails that were blatantly not safe.”

NHS Litigation Services, who represented the two primary care trusts, issued an apology to Jade’s family along with Mr Richard Seabrook for Interserve Health Care Ltd.

Mr Bernard Thorogood, for the NHS Litigation Services, said that a public body in court “brings considerable concern and shame”.