A TWO-year-old boy who was described as 'ray of sunshine' died in hospital from acute bronchopneumonia, an inquest has ruled. 

Zach Keay, of Donigers Close, Swanmore, died on December 8, 2021 at Southampton General Hospital. 

Mum Caroline issued a tribute to her son shortly after his death. 

She said: "Zach would brighten the darkest of days, he was an absolute ray of sunshine and would always have a smile on his face."

As previously reported, he had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after birth, as well as Hirchsprung’s disease, which affects the functioning of the intestine.

The inquest, which concluded on July 27 at Winchester Coroners Court, heard that Zach was admitted to hospital on December 7, 2021, after showing signs of sickness for several days.

When he arrived at the hospital, staff found that he exhibited signs of shock, with Zach eventually being admitted to the high dependency ward.

He was scheduled for a chest x-ray and echocardiograph scan at 5.05am. Following the scan, Zach stopped breathing with hospital staff attempting resuscitation. He was pronounced dead at 6.08am.

READ MORE: What happens at an inquest and what can the press report?

After looking at the evidence, coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp said that 'errors in communication' led senior members of staff to not understand the severity of his condition, with an on-call consultant staying at home due to earlier improvements, and another senior doctor believing that Zach’s transfer had come about due to a shortage of beds.

This meant that the nurses and the registrar assigned to observe Zach were seemingly the only ones to be fully aware of his deterioration.

Mrs Rhodes-Kemp said that, if the communication issues had not occurred, it could have affected the outcome “but we don’t know for sure.”

She also said that representatives from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust had confirmed that a new action plan has been drafted following Zach’s death to prevent future similar incidents.

Mrs Rhodes-Kemp also asked that copies of the plan be provided to herself and the Keay family by the end of October.

The coroner gave the cause of death as acute bronchopneumonia and gave her condolences to the family, saying: “You have my sympathy, I cannot imagine your loss, and I hope you and your children have some comfort.

“It is not easy to lose a child in hospital for the parents but also for the staff involved.”