A FOUR-year-old boy who died of dehydration after contracting a winter bug may have waited up to five-hours to see a doctor, a court heard.
Leylan Forte, who lived in Montrose, Scotland, suffered from cerebral palsy, suspected autism, an eating disorder and wasn't able to communicate.
He fell seriously ill in April 2015 and his parents called NHS 24 several times, but said they were repeatedly told a doctor wouldn't be sent out.
Dr Monica Ireland, of the Annat Bank practice in Montrose, later attended the family's home address but Leylan died in an ambulance as it prepared to take him to hospital.
His cause of death was put down to dehydration, gastroenteritis and norovirus.
A fatal accident inquiry, expected to last up to eight days, is due to take place early next year.
Leylan’s father, Wayne Forte, will be represented but the his mum, Leanne Smith, has since died.
She told reporters at the time: "With better advice Leylan might still be alive."
A preliminary hearing, held at Forfar Sheriff Court on Thursday heard that the probe would look into whether or not the official medical out-of-hours helpline NHS 24, and Leylan's GP practice, the Annat Bank Surgery in Montrose, "responded adequately" to the various contacts that were made about him.
With better advice Leylan might still be alive
The hearing was told that as Leylan's parents grew concerned about his condition, contact was made with NHS 24 at 6am, and with the surgery at 8.20am on April 27.
Procurator fiscal depute to the inquiry, Carol Whyte, said the Crown's information suggested said that GP Dr Ireland then went to assess Leylan at 11am.
Ms Whyte said that the Crown's information had been considered by another doctor who was an expert in general practice medicine.
She said: "He comments on a potential delay of around five hours but says he doesn't hold expertise in what effect that delay might have had."
A pathologist would comment on whether the delay is likely to have contributed to Leylan's death, she added.
Presiding sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown queried whether a pathologist was qualified to comment on "how quickly dehydration takes effect".
Helen Watts, counsel for NHS 24, said: "I would be my suspicion that a pathologist would not be the best person to comment."
The hearing also heard there might be "some possible criticism" of a practitioner nurse at NHS 24.
Ms Whyte said: "I am trying to identify the nurse."
Norovirus: the signs and symptoms
Norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and is rampant during the colder months, although you can catch it at any time of year.
That's why it is important to know the signs of norovirus and how to avoid catching the nasty stomach bug.
The signs to watch out for:
- suddenly feeling sick
- projectile vomiting
- watery diarrhoea
- tummy pain and cramps
- slight fever
- aching limbs
If you start experiencing these symptoms the advice from medics is to stay at home and get plenty of rest until you're feeling better.
You should call in sick at work, and stop your child going to school if they fall ill – to stop the bug spreading.
A further preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 13 at Forfar Sheriff Court.
Solicitor Norman Fraser, for Leylan's father Wayne, 51, said his client had no objection to the hearing being transferred to Dundee.
It is likely the full hearing, expected to last a number of days, will be held in Dundee.
Leylan suffered from suspected autism, cerebral palsy, an eating disorder, and wasn't able to communicate.
The fatal accident inquiry has been ordered because of "serious public concern about his death".
Last year Leylan's devastated parents threatened to sue NHS 24 over his death, after receiving a report from a professor of medicine.
They said at the time, the expert expressed a belief that the official health helpline had given them wrong advice.
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