A HOSPITAL trust has paid out a five-figure compensation sum in the wake of a four-year-old's death.

Matthew Kenway died at the Southampton General Hospital after going in there for a routine kidney operation.

Now it has been announced that the family of the youngster, of Bellfield, Fareham, who died in December 2010 on the hospital's High Dependency Unit, are to be paid a five-figure sum in compensation.

An inquest last year heard how Matthew had seemed to be recovering well from his operation but his heart stopped suddenly and he died.

Delivering a narrative verdict, Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman called for “lessons to be learned” after hearing about delays in medical staff spotting that Matthew's heart was failing.

He said: “There was clearly a delay in recognising that there had been cardiac arrest.

“Obviously the passage of any such time could have affected the likelihood of resuscitation being effective.”

Mr Wiseman highlighted an NHS report urging better checks for breathing, circulation and consciousness.

He added: “There was also to be training and reminders to nursing staff on the appropriate escalation process in an emergency situation arising - that is to say, the calling of the cardiac arrest emergency team before physically calling for help to someone nearby, however close.”

Southampton Coroner's Court was told how after surgery Matthew, who had a lifelong muscular condition called congenital fibre-type disproportion, was looked after on the paediatric high-dependency unit but in the early hours the oxygen monitor probe appeared not to be recording anything.

A nurse initially thought the machine might be faulty, but it turned out that Matthew's heart had stopped.

It emerged Matthew had not been hooked up to a heart monitor and that treatment may have been delayed because an unqualified nurse ran to bring a doctor, rather than raising a cardiac arrest alarm.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said following Matthew's death it had now introduced heart monitoring for all infants and children who have had surgery.

The inquest heard Matthew had a congenital condition that made his muscles weaker than usual so he relied on a home ventilator and had a tracheostomy to breathe.

His parents Anthony Kenway and Katie Oxley, represented by clinical negligence specialists from law firm Blake Lapthorn, took legal action against University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust over the circumstances of Matthew's death.

The Trust has now reached a settlement in which it has agreed to pay an undisclosed five-figure sum to them.

The family's solicitor Patricia Wakeford, of Blake Lapthorn, said: “Evidence heard at the inquest raised grave concerns about the quality of care that Matthew received and the processes that were in place at Southampton General Hospital at the time of Matthew's death.

“Despite their loss, Matthew's family have been determined to remember their son as the lively, happy, much-loved child that he was.

“They hope that important lessons are learned from the events that led to his death and that this will prevent other families suffering a similar tragedy in the future.”

Ms Oxley said: “Nothing can bring Matthew back but we were determined to highlight what went wrong in the hope that lessons could be learned and that no other family would have to suffer what we have been through.

“Knowing that changes have now been made in the high-dependency unit gives us some comfort.

“We will always feel Matthew's loss but we do now feel as if we can start to move on.”