THE family of a Timperley schoolboy who died suddenly have expressed their hopes that lessons can be learned from his death.

Five-year-old Luca Giovannini, who attended Saint Hugh’s RC School, in Timperley, died within two days after having a seizure at his Gatley home in November 2011.

At an inquest at Manchester Coroner’s Court on April 23, deputy assistant coroner Carolyn Singleton recorded a narrative verdict.

The inquest heard that Luca was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital on November 14 2011 and was later transferred to Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital.

Dr Sarah Kirtley, a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, conducted an independent review of Luca’s care at Wythenshawe – and identified a number of significant delays.

Dr Kirtley said it was three and a half hours before Luca was treated with the drug Lorazepam, a delay she said she was ‘uncomfortable’ with.

It was also not recognised that Luca was continuing to fit and as such, he was not intubated (a tube inserted into the body) for nine and a quarter hours – Dr Kirtley said she would have expected this to have been done within an hour if his ‘status epilepticus’ – seizure that lasts 30 minutes or longer – had been picked up.

She added that Luca was first seen by a student nurse, whose misdiagnosis delayed Luca from being seen by a consultant.

Luca’s father, Renzo, said: “Clearly there was no intention to do any harm, but I think we both feel that on that morning had the ambulance taken us to a different hospital the outcome may have been different and that is quite difficult to accept.”

Peter Oliver, a nurse at Wythenshawe who assisted in a serious incident report conducted after Luca’s death, said the hospital recognised that serious mistakes had been made and an overhaul of procedures and protocalls had already begun.

An earlier post-mortem had determined that Luca died of a extreme brain swelling, which had been assisted by acute case of Epstein Barr virus – which is a very common virus, but uncommon to the brain.

Speaking after the inquest, Luca’s mum Vickie, a teacher at Stamford Park Infant School, Hale, said she felt a narrative verdict was fairer than one of natural causes.

“All we can hope for as parents is that Wythenshawe will act on the new guidelines so that no other parents have to go through what we go through every day,” said Vickie.


Luca’s story rose to promience as he gave the gift of life – donating his organs to two children and two adults, transforming the lives of four people in need.

“If you’re not on the organ donor register, please do register and become a hero,” said Vickie.

“If you’re willing to accept an organ you should be willing to donate one.”