Update: You can read this post with pictures here: Connor Sparrowhawk Easy Read Blog Post. This link will open a pdf file. The picture version was prepared by a charity called Change. Change is run by people with learning disabilities.
A report has been published about Connor Sparrowhawk who died last year. You can get a copy of the report by going to this website: http://www.southernhealth.nhs.uk/news/report-into-death-sparrowhawk/.
You can read about Connor’s life at this website: http://mydaftlife.wordpress.com/
Connor Sparrowhawk had learning disabilities. Connor also had epilepsy. He had to go into hospital. In hospital he had an epileptic seizure in the bath. Connor died because of the seizure.
After Connor died 2 people investigated what happened. They wrote a report. The report said staff should have watched Connor carefully.
Connor needed to be watched to keep him safe. If the staff at hospital had watched Connor he might not have died.
I want to know if the hospital broke the law. I want to know about Connor’s human rights.
Connor had a right to life. The hospital had to protect Connor’s right to life. If someone dies at the hospital the hospital has to find out why.
The report helps to protect the lives of other people with learning disabilities. It tells the hospital how to care for people with epilepsy.
But I want to know if the hospital should pay some money to Connor’s family to say sorry. This money is called damages.
Sometimes hospitals need to pay damages to say sorry. Sometimes hospitals do not. It depends on whether they knew Connor was very likely to die.
If the hospital knew Connor was very likely to die and they did not keep him safe then they should pay damages.
The report does not tell us if the hospital knew that Connor was very likely to die. If Connor’s family want damages they might go to court. Or they might not want to go to court.
I think the law here is causing problems. Sometimes hospitals are scared to talk to families about how people died and what went wrong. They may be scared that if they talk about what happened they will be saying they knew the person was very likely to die and they did not keep him safe.
This makes it hard for families to find out why someone died.
When someone dies their families are terribly sad. If they do not know why the person died they feel angry and frightened too. I think we should try and make the law clearer so hospitals and families can talk about why someone has died.