Hospitals 'missed opportunities' before four-year-old girl died of sepsis

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Eva Hayden died from sepsis in January 2020 (Image: JMW Solicitors/Liverpool Echo)
Eva Hayden died from sepsis in January 2020 (Image: JMW Solicitors/Liverpool Echo)

Two hospitals “missed opportunities” to save a four-year-old girl who died of sepsis, a coroner has ruled.

Eva Hayden collapsed shortly after Christmas in January 2020 and was rushed to Alder Hey's emergency department.

Tragically, her father Ged and paramedics were unable to revive her and she was declared dead at around 7am on January 11 2020.

Eva's parents have received an apology from health bosses for “poor communication” after a coroner called for changes to prevent future fatalities.

Eva, from Kirkby, developed an infection in October 2019 in her left foot and was treated at Ormskirk District General Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital before being discharged with oral antibiotics on October 23.

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Blood tests had revealed she had neutropenia and she attended further blood tests on three occasions in November at Ormskirk hospital.

Hospitals 'missed opportunities' before four-year-old girl died of sepsisA spokesperson for Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: 'Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation is extremely sorry for the communication failures which led to Eva’s death' (Liverpool Echo)

Despite her results remaining low, no action was taken and it was not arranged for Eva to undergo any further blood tests, her family said.

In January 2020, Eva then became unwell with a fever, rash over her limbs and chest and pain in her feet when walking.

After visiting Kirkby walk-in centre, the family were advised to go straight to A&E at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital but she was soon discharged with a virus.

On January 10, mum Michelle went to work her night shift as a support worker but the following morning Eva worsened and despite dad Ged attempting resuscitation, Eva could not be revived.

Liverpool Echo previously reported that Eva developed sepsis after her family weren't warned of the risks of a condition being investigated and susceptibility to infection.

Paying tribute to her daughter, mum Michelle, 50, said: "We remember Eva as such a caring little girl and in her short life she just loved to help people.

"I know Eva wouldn't want this to happen to another child or family. She was special and that's the way we remember her, as a special gift to the world for a short time."

Hospitals 'missed opportunities' before four-year-old girl died of sepsisSouthport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust said an immediate investigation had taken place (LancsLive/MEN)

Eva's cause of death was sepsis and bone marrow hypoplasia as coroner Andre Rebello said there had been "missed opportunities" by doctors.

Ormskirk General Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have now apologised to family.

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Mum Michelle added: "We feel so let down that Eva was lost in a system of two hospitals caring for her.

“We only found out about Eva’s neutropenia and how serious it is at the inquest nearly two years after her death, which hit us so hard.

“We cannot believe how poor the hospitals’ attitude was with such a serious condition.

“They were so blasé and at no point did we feel Eva’s health was in danger from this condition.

“We just want lessons to be learned and for no other families to suffer as we have."

Hospitals 'missed opportunities' before four-year-old girl died of sepsisCoroner Andre Rebello said there had been 'missed opportunities' by doctors (Liverpool Echo)

Rachael Heyes, a specialist medical solicitor at law firm JMW who is handling the family’s legal case, said: "It is absolutely staggering that a young child with such a serious condition could receive such poor management and care.

“She simply fell through the cracks but it’s completely unacceptable for that to have happened in a modern day health system that has guidelines and protocols in place to stop that from happening."

Both hospital trusts said there had been a "number of failings" and lessons had been learnt.

A spokesperson for Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: "Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation is extremely sorry for the communication failures which led to Eva’s death.

“Both hospital trusts made early admissions of liability in this tragic case, and we would like to express our deepest sympathy to Eva’s family.”

A spokesperson for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust added: "The Trust offers its sincere condolences to Eva’s family for their devastating loss.

“Following Eva’s death, an immediate and thorough investigation was carried out and action plans have been implemented to ensure lessons have been learned."

Aaliyah Rugg

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