Call for action to keep children like Sammy Alban-Stanley safe
The coroner who conducted the inquest into the death of 13-year-old Sammy Alban Stanley has called for action at a national and regional level to prevent similar tragedies occurring.
Posted on 22 March 2022
Coroner Catherine Wood has written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group with her Prevention of Future Deaths Report, to which they must reply by 11 April 2022.
Sammy, who had Prader Willi Syndrome and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) died during the first national lockdown in the covid-19 pandemic when he was not able to attend his special school and when, despite their many pleas to social services, his family lacked the necessary support to give him the full care he needed at home.
In her Prevention of Future Deaths Report, the coroner said if Sammy and his family had been given more practical support, it may have made a difference to his high-risk behaviour and his death.
Sammy’s mother Patricia Alban-Stanley has welcomed the coroner’s report and the Disabled Children’s Partnership, who are working with Patricia to make Sammy’s story known, say it is of major significance in their campaign for much more funding for support for families who care for children with disabilities like Sammy’s.
The Disabled Children's Partnership is an umbrella organisation of 100 children's and disability charities including Mencap, Scope, Sense and Contact.
Ms Wood also raised the following concerns:
- Much more support should be available to families with rare diseases such as Prader Willi Syndrome
- Only very limited support was provided to Sammy’s mother for wrap-around care before and after school for a month before lockdown, and despite the need being obvious, no replacement support was provided when Sammy had to stay away from school during lockdown
- Psycho-social interventions were not offered and a Care and Education Treatment Review did not take place despite Sammy’s high-risk behaviours being known to the mental health team at North East London Foundation Trust who were only commissioned for diagnoses, not treatment.
- Although Kent County Council has made changes to its services since Sammy’s death, another similar incident is predictable in other areas if children with complex neurodevelopmental needs are excluded from access to the care and treatment they need to keep them safe.
- Communication between agencies involved in his short life was inadequate
Inquest into the death of Sammy Alban-Stanley, aged 13
The inquest into the death of Sammy Alban-Stanley, who died aged 13 during the first 2020 pandemic lockdown, has concluded that he died as a consequence of injuries sustained during an episode of high-risk behaviour related to Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) on a background of inadequate support from the local authority and mental health services.
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