Layton Boys-Hope, was just 12 months old when he died from sepsis caused by chicken pox after doctors at Sunderland Royal Hospital allegedly didn't notice the warning signs.
His family claim his purple foot - a symptom of sepsis - was dismissed as being caused by a 'tight nappy' and allege he wasn't given any antibiotics for eight hours despite blood tests revealing an infection was present.
Parents, Nichol Boys and Dave Hope, both 38, from Sunderland, watched helplessly as their youngest son's health declined and on February 9 2015, his heart stopped.
Now, three years later, with the help of clinical negligence lawyers, Hudgell Solicitors, Layton's parents have agreed a damages settlement with City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust following their legal case - despite the organisation denying liability for his death.
Hudgell Solicitors said the trust did admit earlier treatment with antibiotics could have saved Layton's life and that it had breached its duty of care by failing to carry out observations for six hours.
The trust said they expressed their 'deepest condolences' to Layton's family and had placed a major focus on increasing sepsis awareness.
Dave, an optical lab technician, said: “All of us are total shadows of our former selves after losing Layton and it makes it even harder to accept or understand when you know he was let down.
“The hospital failed to carry out observations and there were delays in giving him antibiotics which we have been told since would have saved him.
“Whatever we do and wherever we go, we’ll always be thinking ‘what if?’ If things had been different, Layton would still be here and that’s the hardest part of it all.
“No parent should have to go through that and deal with that. We thought he was in the best place but, in my eyes, they didn’t do everything they should have done. We can’t ever accept that.”
Layton was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital by his worried parents Dave and Nichol after he became breathless and was feverish on February 8, 2015.
His parents claim he had been making a good recovery from a bout of chicken pox when he suddenly became ill at home.
He was rushed to hospital by his parents and admitted with a high temperature and his left foot purple in colour.
Mum of six, Nichol, said: "Layton was first reviewed by a doctor at 3.45pm, at which time an enlargement of his liver was recorded and the possibility of a bacterial infection noted.
"However, despite this, no further observations were then made to assess Layton’s condition over the following six hours.
"The doctors had noted the discolouration in Layton’s foot but were not in agreement over its cause.
"It was dismissed as having been caused by either his nappy being too tight or having slept on his leg."
The parents claim Layton was given Calpol to reduce his temperature while investigations were carried out, but blood tests were not assessed until three and a half hours after his admission, when a low white blood cell count was discovered.
Hudgell Solicitors who led a legal case against the hospital Trust on behalf of Layton’s parents said these results should have triggered an immediate decision to administer antibiotics to help fight infection.
And that Layton was only admitted to a ward at 9pm and given antibiotics at 11.25pm – more than eight hours after he was first seen.
However, at this point his oxygen levels dropped and his heartbeat had almost come to a stop. He was transferred to theatre but died after 30 minutes of CPR proved unable to save him.
As part of legal action against the Trust through medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors, it was alleged – with independent medical expert backing – that had antibiotics been given at any time before 6.45pm [up to three and a half hours after admission], Layton would have survived.
Layton’s cause of death was recorded as overwhelming sepsis [Group A Streptococcus Pyogenes] caused by chicken pox.
Solicitor Tasmin White, of Hudgell Solicitors, "This is a tragic case, and it is particularly upsetting and distressing as from a parenting point of view, Dave and Nichol did everything they could. They took him to hospital as soon as they felt his condition was worsening and worrying.
“For the hospital to then approach his care with such a lack of urgency and detail, failing to carry out observations for six hours and not taking more decisive action, was inexcusable.
“Layton’s very high temperature, rapid breathing and his discoloured leg were all red flag warnings that something adverse was happening and should have led to a decisive conclusion that an infection was present.
“There were certainly enough symptoms to warrant the early administration of antibiotics – treatment which it has accepted could have saved Layton’s life.”
The family have been left heartbroken by the loss of their son but are determined to ensure it doesn't happen to other children.
Dave said: “The doctors told us they were trying everything possible to save him and from that moment our world started falling apart.
“We were shouting ‘come on Layton, you can do it son’. They worked on him for about 30 minutes before they made the decision to stop and they asked us if we wanted to be there.
“When we go to the cemetery, the kids kiss his picture and we spend hours there. We will never forget him and when his baby brothers are old enough, we will tell them all about him. We don’t want others to suffer the same as us.”
Ian Martin, Medical Director at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On behalf of the Trust, I express our deepest condolences to Layton’s family for the tragic loss of their son and brother in 2015.
“Over the past three years, the NHS nationally and locally has placed a major focus on increasing awareness of sepsis to support healthcare professionals in recognising and treating symptoms of this 'silent killer'.
"Ensuring timely identification and treatment of sepsis is one of our key quality improvement priorities and we now have a dedicated Sepsis lead working with teams across the Trust to provide regular training and support for staff around spotting the signs and symptoms of potential sepsis cases early and acting quickly to provide prompt treatment.
"Sepsis is a serious complication of an infection and a leading cause of death across the UK. It is extremely difficult to recognise and diagnose and working together with the UK Sepsis Trust, the NHS is now making great strides to raise awareness amongst all staff groups to help potentially save more lives in future."
To read more, visit; www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laytons-legacy