Support our Nation today - please donate here

Boy’s sepsis death preventable, says mother after coroner finds failures in care

24 May 2024 4 minute read
The Grange University Hospital.Photo Robin Drayton marked CC BY-SA 2.0

The mother of a nine-year-old boy who died from sepsis just days after being sent home from hospital with flu has said his death was preventable after a coroner found there had been failures in his care.

Dylan Cope was sent home from the Grange Hospital in Cwmbran in December 2022 after being diagnosed with influenza and given a leaflet with advice for coughs and colds.

He died just over a week later at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff from sepsis.


Gwent Coroner Caroline Saunders recorded a narrative conclusion, saying there had been a “gross failure of basic care”.

She added: “His death was contributed to by neglect.”

The inquest had examined whether Dylan’s appendicitis, which led to sepsis, could or should have been picked up earlier.

The court was told that after falling ill, the boy saw his GP who suspected he had appendicitis and advised he go immediately to the Grange Hospital.

While there, Dylan was seen by a paediatric nurse practitioner, who noted he had indicated the pain was mainly on his left-hand side, away from the appendix. Tests also showed he had influenza.

A breakdown in communication between two medical staff meant Dylan was not reviewed by a senior doctor and he was later discharged.


Speaking afterwards, Dylan’s mother Corinne Cope said her family believe he should not have died.

“We appreciate the coroner’s findings,” she said. “From our own investigations we already felt that Dylan’s death was preventable.

“During the inquest process, we’ve painfully learned that the Grange University Hospital, touted as a ‘state-of-the-art super-hospital’, had what we saw as chaotic and shambolic processes that led to both extensive systemic and human errors.

“We understand that no single person is entirely to blame for the multiple failures, but a true no-blame culture should still include accountability and learning.

“Every individual must accept responsibility for their actions, regardless of whether their errors were accidental or unintentional.”


Mrs Cope, from Newport, added: “Dylan was our youngest son, a little boy with his whole life ahead of him.

“As a family, we have to adjust to being four instead of five; our circle is forever broken. This pain will last our entire lives, not just through this hearing.

“Dylan is central to all of this. The magnitude of losing his life has often been overshadowed by others minimising and thwarting attempts to uncover the truth.

“For our child to suffer and die from an easily treatable condition is unimaginable for most parents. This is now our living nightmare.”

Cope family lawyer Firdous Ibrahim, from Leigh Day, said: “It is rare for a coroner to find neglect in an inquest involving concerns with medical treatment, which further highlights what a tragic and unavoidable loss this was.

“The coroner’s conclusion found there were a significant number of failures by multiple healthcare professionals that would have prevented Dylan’s death.

“While improvements in care have sadly come too late for Dylan, we hope that it means another family doesn’t have to go through similar heartache.”

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which runs the Grange Hospital, said: “We are truly heartbroken and our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with Dylan’s parents and his whole family.

“No parent should have to go through losing a child in such circumstances. We are all truly devastated.

“Senior members of the health board have met with the family in person to apologise for the tragic circumstances leading to the loss of their beloved son.

“The health board fully recognise that no apology will ever make up for the pain and suffering the family have experienced in losing Dylan.

“Dylan’s tragic death was as a result of an organisational system failure that occurred in a department whilst under extreme pressure, with twice the number of patients normally attending, and was not attributable to any individual member of staff.

“The health board takes full responsibility for what happened to Dylan. We are deeply sorry and remain fully committed to supporting the family in any way we can.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 days ago

Gross failure…over and over again…is there no one to meet the requirements of knowledge and leadership needed for the crucial role of Health Minister…

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.