Medics miss Clevedon boy's broken neck

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 February 2018

Gemma and Steve Hoy with Riley and his brothers Harry and Finlay.

Gemma and Steve Hoy with Riley and his brothers Harry and Finlay.


North Somerset Community Hospital has apologised after a five-year-old boy was wrongly diagnosed with whiplash five weeks before discovering his neck was broken.

Riley Hoy with his halo.Riley Hoy with his halo.

Riley Hoy, from Clevedon, was playing on a trampoline in his family’s garden last July when he fell on his neck while attempting a backflip.

He woke up the next morning ‘screaming in pain’ so parents Gemma and Steve took him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a whiplash injury which should heal in three to four weeks.

But, after being given the same diagnosis by the hospital two weeks later, they took Riley to a specialist at Bristol Children’s Hospital where he was found to have two broken vertebrae.

Gemma said: “It was every parent’s worst nightmare, we didn’t know how we were going to get through that point.

Gemma and Steve Hoy with Riley and his brothers Harry and Finlay.Gemma and Steve Hoy with Riley and his brothers Harry and Finlay.

“Riley was absolutely amazing throughout. His positive, happy attitude kept everyone going and made us realise we could get through it.

“The surgeon was amazed no more harm had come to Riley in the five weeks he had walked around with the injury.

“We had even been camping and swimming with him.”

Riley left hospital three days later after being fitted with a halo brace, a piece of equipment which stops the neck from moving while the spine heals.

To help Riley, who attends Mary Elton Primary School, during his early recovery period some family friends gave him Jamie Bear, a handmade teddy complete with its own halo.

Gemma added: “He took him to all of his hospital appointments as he had to have pins in his halo tightened weekly.

“He had continuous problems with pins slipping and infections so we had to go back to the hospital a few times a week. Every time Jamie came with us.”

The bear had such a positive impact on Riley that the Clevedon Men’s Shed group has donated more to Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Riley’s halo was removed in November after he fell at school and it is hoped he will have made a full recovery by the summer.

A spokesman for North Somerset Community Hospital said: “We are sorry to hear about Riley’s injury.

“We take complaints extremely seriously.”

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