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News2001June › Hospitals discriminate against down's kids › June 2001

Hospitals discriminate against down's kids

New data gleaned from a 12 year inquiry into the practices at two "centres of excellence" in the UK showed that children with Down's syndrome were given a lower priority for treatment, and that their parents received a biased view of only some of the

New data gleaned from a 12 year inquiry into the practices at two "centres of excellence" in the UK showed that children with Down's syndrome were given a lower priority for treatment, and that their parents received a biased view of only some of the

The inquiry looked at the evidence from 49 parents, many of whom had children who had died or were neurologically damaged as a result of surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and the Harefield Hospital in Middlesex.

As is common with internal investigations, the report fell short of demonstrating medical negligence, and opted instead to place the blame on poor communication between doctors and families.

But the 119 recommendations for improving care in the future speak volumes about just how poorly the Down's children and their parents were treated by these hospitals.

Josephine Ocloo is one of those parents. Her 17 year old daughter died while under care at the Brompton. Mrs Ocloo went further, calling the inquiry a "sham and a cover up".

She noted that, in a suspiciously large number of cases, the medical records of the children involved "went missing", making a full investigation into these cases impossible. Furthermore, she said, "After 18 months, we still do not know why our children died or why they were brain damaged" (BMJ, 2001; 322: 815).


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