Tragic death of ‘invisible’ Bedford teen failed by system

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A shocking report into the death of an “invisible” disabled boy called Patrick has slammed care services in Bedford.

Patrick, who suffered from a rare genetic condition, died unexpectedly when he was 17 years old, weighing just six stone 11 pounds.

He had been known to social services since he was a toddler and was once on the Child Protection Register.

A serious case review from the Bedford Safeguarding Children Board found he was living in “neglectful and unsanitary” conditions.

The board’s report details a tragic string of neglect and failures by the various agencies involved in his care.

It describes how an ambulance crew attended Patrick at the home he shared with his grandmother and uncle.

“They expressed concerns about the living conditions being neglectful, unsanitary and a fire hazard and had found it difficult to move around because there were boxes everywhere,” reads the report.

“There was a bare flex hanging from the light fitting...Patrick was dirty in appearance and had faeces under his fingernails...He had a graze that might have been caused by contact with a mattress spring,” it adds.

Patrick had bruising on his body and his school reported the teenager looked dirty and unkempt.

Patrick was taken to hospital and treated for a cardiac condition. He died of multiple organ failure.

The safeguarding board has now issued a list of changes they want to see from Bedford health professionals and care agencies.

Chair Jenny Myers said: “Patrick’s death was a shock to all the professionals involved in his life.”

She said the death could not have been prevented or predicted. But the report found Patrick was “invisible to a number of key services well placed to support him.”

She added:“Patrick’s review suggests that disabled and young people in Bedford Borough may not be afforded the level of scrutiny and investigation that their conditions require when indicators of abuse and neglect are present.”