Parents’ small victory after NHS ‘cover up’ over death of son, 18

Teenager Oliver McGowan died in hospital in Bristol after he was given an antipsychotic drug (Picture: McGowan Family)
Teenager Oliver McGowan died in clinic in Bristol after he used to be given an antipsychotic drug (Picture: McGowan Family)

The folks of an autistic teen who died after being given antipsychotic medicine towards his needs have received a brand new overview into his death.

Oliver McGowan, 18, from Bristol, used to be being handled for seizures at Southmead Hospital in 2016 when he used to be given olanzapine to sedate him.

His folks say docs have been many times instructed by means of each Oliver and themselves to not administer the drug as he had suffered dangerous reactions to it prior to now and he used to be now not mentally sick.

The drug brought about his mind to swell significantly and he died in in depth care however final yr the coroner dominated the drug have been correctly prescribed.

Oliver’s mom and dad, Paula and Tom McGowan, argue their son’s death used to be preventable, however {that a} discovering it used to be ‘potentially avoidable’ used to be got rid of from a prior studying incapacity mortality overview (LeDeR).



They used Freedom of Information rules to acquire inner NHS emails that allegedly display workforce had altered sections of the file that prompt Oliver’s death can have been averted.

Last week, NHS England introduced a brand new impartial overview into the death in consequence.

Oliver McGowan
Oliver used to be a faculty scholar and proficient athlete who dreamed of changing into a Paralympian (Picture: McGowan Family)

Speaking from Australia, the place the couple now are living, Paula McGowan instructed kingdom that she and Tom welcome the brand new overview as it’s ‘Oliver’s proper’.

The school scholar and proficient athlete – who used to be in coaching to transform a Paralympian – had autism and delicate cerebral palsy after contracting meningitis as a kid.

When he started struggling seizures firstly of 2016, Paula took him to Bristol Children’s Hospital for assessments.

Paula stated he used to be to start with prescribed the anti-depressant sertraline regardless of by no means being recognized with a psychological sickness, which in truth made his seizures worse.

During his seizures, Oliver would nonetheless be capable of keep in touch, however they might make him really feel extraordinarily scared and concerned, his mom stated.

Because of this, he used to be given antipsychotic medicine supposed to calm him down.

Paula stated: ‘The change in Oliver was completely scary. He was unrecognisable.’

Oliver as a child
Oliver, pictured as a kid, used to be recognized with delicate cerebral palsy after affected by meningitis when he used to be younger (Picture: McGowan Family)

His folks knew the medicine used to be making Oliver worse and fought to have him taken off the medication and a observe placed on his data that he must now not be prescribed it someday.



But when Oliver used to be admitted to Southmead Hospital in November for his seizures, Paula stated Oliver’s needs have been left out.

She stated: ‘We took his hospital passport which detailed his health record and that was promptly put in a draw by staff. Oliver and ourselves repeatedly said he should not be given antipsychotics at all.’

At Southmead, Oliver had to be intubated to facilitate an MRI scan and he used to be put beneath normal anesthetic.

Doctors instructed his folks that he can be given olanzapine whilst beneath anesthetic in order that he can be sedated when he got here again spherical.

Paula and Tom repeated Oliver’s needs that certainly not must the drug be given to him.

That night time, after they went house, Paula and Tom stated the olanzapine used to be given to Oliver anyway.

Oliver McGowan with parents Paula and Tom McGowan
Oliver’s folks Paula and Tom McGowan used Freedom of Information rules to acquire inner emails despatched by means of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG (Picture: McGowan Family)

He by no means aroused from sleep. The drug brought about his mind to swell, he used to be placed on existence beef up and he stuck pneumonia.

Paula stated: ‘We have been nonetheless instructed “he’ll come round”. We went for a espresso and once we got here again the physician took us right into a room and his precise phrases have been “Oliver’s brain is so badly swollen it’s bulging out of the base of his skull”.’

His folks have been pressured to make the heartbreaking choice to show Oliver’s existence beef up gadget off on 11 November, 2016.


Paula stated: ‘If I’d have recognized docs would have left out Oliver and handled him as despite the fact that he used to be mentally sick as an alternative of as any person with autism I’d by no means have taken him to clinic.

‘I would rather have left him to have seizures.’

Paula and Tom argue inner emails despatched by means of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG workforce allegedly display them discussing changing Oliver’s LeDeR file.

Paula defined: ‘The question on the LeDeR that asked was Oliver’s death doubtlessly avoidable, it’s worthwhile to see that once it used to be about to visit the impartial panel, it used to be ticked sure.

‘But when it went again to the CCG, they have been pronouncing “get that box unticked”.’

Oliver with mum Paula McGowan
Paula used to be surprised to find none of the well being workforce treating her son had any studying incapacity or autism coaching (Picture: McGowan Family)

A CCG spokesperson instructed kingdom that it rejects the accusation CCG workforce tried to change Oliver’s first LeDeR file.

They stated: ‘The report was produced by a LeDeR trained member of staff, the Local Area Contact or ‘LAC’, which is a prescribed function inside the LeDeR procedure.

‘The LAC worked under the guidance of the Panel Chair, who was independent of the CCG.’

The new studying incapacity mortality overview (LeDeR) into Oliver’s death can be overseen by means of Dr Celia Ingham Clark, England’s scientific director for pro management and medical effectiveness.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG’s remark in complete

‘We welcome the independent review announced by NHS England. We are committed to the aims and principles of LeDeR and welcomed the opportunity to commission an independent multi-agency Panel to review Oliver’s case.

‘We reject any suggestion that CCG staff sought to alter Oliver’s LeDeR file.

‘The report was produced by a LeDeR trained member of staff, the Local Area Contact or ‘LAC’, which is a prescribed function inside the LeDeR procedure.

‘The LAC labored beneath the steering of the Panel Chair, who used to be impartial of the CCG.

‘The procedure of getting ready the file used to be iterative – as is same old – and drafts have been delicate over time following an preliminary assembly.

‘The Panel Chair used to be concerned all through and licensed the general file.

‘While the Panel recognised that aspects of Oliver’s care can have been controlled in a different way, and that this will have influenced the result, they weren’t in a position to mention categorically whether or not Oliver’s death used to be avoidable or now not.

‘The LeDeR steering on the time used to be transparent that the place a definitive solution may just now not be given to a query, an evidence should be equipped.

‘The Panel complied fully with this requirement, citing the complexities of Oliver’s case of their reaction.

‘We have since shared our issues in regards to the ambiguities and absence of readability within the total LeDeR procedure with the nationwide crew.

‘We deeply regret that the McGowan family’s revel in of the LeDeR procedure used to be so unsatisfactory and distressing for them.

‘We will of course participate fully and transparently with the NHS England review in whatever way is required.’

Since Oliver’s death, Paula has fought to make autism coaching obligatory for all well being workforce.


She took her struggle to the federal government with the beef up of Care minister Caroline Dineage and in October 2018, it used to be introduced {that a} session into a compulsory studying incapacity coaching programme for well being workforce would additionally come with autism.

The govt session introduced in February and it’s was hoping new laws might be presented by means of the top of the yr.

Paula stated: ‘He was so smart Oliver. He was popular, he was good-looking. If you’d have met him you’d by no means know there used to be anything else incorrect with him.’



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