A nine-year-old boy died of sepsis just days after being discharged from A&E with a diagnosis of flu, an inquest has heard.

Dylan Cope, from Newport, died of septic shock from a ruptured appendix on December 14, 2022, mere days after being discharged from hospital.

Laurence Cope took his son to A&E on the advice of their GP after Dylan had been complaining of abdominal pain on December 6, 2022.

An inquest into Dylan’s death began at Gwent Coroner’s Court on Monday, May 20, where the court heard from Dylan’s parents Laurence and Corrine how their “fit and healthy” son had an active imagination who loved “building Lego”.

Mr Cope said his son “loved his family more than anything” and he thoroughly enjoyed claiming “free hugs”.

 He was described as “creative” and “very much a problem solver”, who had developed a keen interest in things such as the Rubik’s cube, which he would often work out by asking his father or looking up videos on YouTube.

He had also developed a keen interest in bikes and gears.

Mr Cope said: “He saw the beauty of life and the injustices too, and was always keen to make his point known.”

His parents said Dylan was “feisty” and had a distinctly “unique character”. He had been due to play a reindeer in the school Christmas play the day he died.

South Wales Argus: Dylan had been set to play a reindeer at the school Christmas play the day he diedDylan had been set to play a reindeer at the school Christmas play the day he died (Image: Family photo)

On the evening of December 6, 2022, Dylan’s father took him to A&E at the Grange Hospital in Cwmbran after a visit to the GP had diagnosed him with suspected appendicitis.

Dylan had been complaining of abdominal pain and was described by his father as being “lethargic” and vomiting regularly.

His GP had referred him to A&E by telephone, with a “query appendicitis”, the court heard, which was later ruled out by a nurse who said the tenderness Dylan was experiencing was predominantly on the left, when the appendix is on the right.

Despite the referral, Dylan was not seen for an hour and 15 minutes at A&E, despite the target wait time of 15 minutes, which a nurse told the court was down to the department being very busy at the time.

Samantha Hayden, a paediatric nurse practitioner, was the first person to physically assess Dylan at the hospital and told the court she was aware of the GP referral but did not review the document or look for it.

Ms Hayden was asked if she had considered appendicitis as a potential diagnosis, and explained it was “one of my differentials” but said there were other possibilities, despite not discussing Dylan’s presenting symptom of abdominal pain with his father.

She also explained that a senior review was planned for Dylan on December 6, but she had completed a discharge summary before it was confirmed if this review had taken place.

Following the examination by Ms Hayden, Dylan’s father told the court that a “male medic” came into the room but did not examine Dylan.

Mr Cope explained that although the medic did not introduce himself, he assumed he was a surgeon due to his scrubs, and that he seemed the “most senior and reassuring”, and acted in a “calm and confident” manner.

It was this medic who told Mr Cope that it was “highly unlikely” the problem was linked to Dylan appendix, while a second clinician informed them Dylan had tested positive for influenza, with the stomach pain coming from “swollen glands”.

This resulted in him being sent home with a cough and colds advice sheet on December 7, when they were also told Dylan would get better within a few days.

South Wales Argus: Dylan was described as creative and loved Lego and solving Rubik's cubesDylan was described as creative and loved Lego and solving Rubik's cubes (Image: Family photo)

However, three days later on December 10, Mr Cope rushed Dylan back into the Grange after he had been found “writhing on the sofa” complaining of leg pain.

Mr Cope described his son’s legs as “mottled” with cold hands and feet after he attempted to get through to NHS 111 19 times.

Upon arriving at the Grange at 4.10pm that afternoon, Dylan was transferred to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where he underwent an emergency appendectomy.

He died there four days later on December 14.

The medical cause of death was officially given as septic shock with multi-organ dysfunction caused by a perforated appendix.

South Wales Argus: Dylan loved his family more than anything, and adored claiming free hugs Dylan loved his family more than anything, and adored claiming free hugs (Image: Family photo)

Mr Cope recalled how the doctors told them it was unlikely Dylan would survive after being put on life support and that “there was nothing more they could do for him”.

Mr Cope and his wife Corrine said the decision was “immensely painful” but they knew it could be prolonging agony for their son, who they said “must come first”.

The inquest continues and is expected to last five days.