An Indian-origin toddler died in the UK as a result of a delayed cancer diagnosis; an investigation has concluded.
Ryan Bhogal, 20-month-old, died at Birmingham Children's Hospital of leukemia in September last year. A coroner conducting an inquest into his death said he would write to his local general practitioner (GP) seeking answers on the delay in his diagnosis.
‘A 20-month-old toddler died after doctors missed 35 opportunities to save his life. Blood tests were never carried out, and doctors failed to diagnose that the toddler was suffering from leukemia.
"I will write to the GP practice to discuss the care of Ryan and, in particular, continuity, as he was seen by some different doctors," coroner Zafar Siddique said as he recorded a 'death from natural causes' verdict.
"I have concerns about the lack of access to GP medical records for patients, which was certainly so in Ryan's case. I want improvements to be made," said Siddique.
GP Indira Wariyar, who saw Ryan four times, admitted there were "missed opportunities" to help the toddler.
Prashant Hiwarkar, the consultant pediatric hematologist at Birmingham Children's Hospital, said, "Leukemia would have been detected if blood tests had been taken on some medical visits."
"If Ryan's gums were bleeding on August 9 and still red and bleeding on August 18 this would be a red flag for me. I would have asked for a blood test. I believe you would have seen signs of an abnormal blood count in August," Hiwarkar told the inquest.
Hiwarkar added that the children diagnosed early with Ryan's form of aggressive leukemia had a 40 to 60 percent chance of survival.
"Seeing him lying there attached to a machine was heartbreaking. I walked away from the ward with tears in my eyes. He was my world. Time after time when we took him to seek medical help we were told 'Don't worry - there is nothing to worry about'," Kulvinder Bhogal, father of the child, told the inquest.
"A simple blood test should have been carried out, and there were many missed opportunities to do this. But this was never done," said Gurpal Bhogal, Ryan's aunt.
The family said they would discuss whether to take further action against the GP practice and the hospital.