The Importance of including ‘Acute Life Threatening Event’(ALTE) within SUDiC Procedures
Knowles JA Assistant Director of Safeguarding & Kim Hewitson Child Death Review Nurse, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
The Merseyside SUDiC Protocol is also utilised for cases where a child suffers an Acute Life Threatening Event (ALTE) if, professionals involved in the case, deem it to be appropriate, reasonable and proportionate. For this purpose the definition of an ALTE is:
Any sudden/unexpected collapse of an infant or child (0 up to 18 years) requiring some form of active intervention/resuscitation and subsequent intensive care / high dependency unit admission and it remains unexplained.
During 2017 Alder Hey managed Twenty One SUDiC’s. However the data demonstrates that more than half (52%) of this cohort of children had initially fitted the criteria for triggering the ALTE protocol (13). Eleven of the ALTE’s did not survive, with the average length of time between presentation and death being four days. In four of the ALTE cases, significant safeguarding issues were discovered.
Using the SUDiC protocol for children fitting the ALTE criteria ensures effective early multi agency action, which underpins the ‘Golden Hour’ principal of securing significant material that would otherwise be lost to the Police investigation whilst also considering any wider safeguarding factors. All of which are undertaken with sensitivity, following the five common principles of the Pan Merseyside SUDiC / ALTE Protocol, especially when having contact with family members.