Calls For Dramatic Improvement After Hospital Admits Failings During Baby’s Care

Lawyers Demand Reassurances Following Birmingham Incident

03.05.2012


Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell acting on behalf of the devastated mum of a baby girl who died at Birmingham Children’s Hospital are calling for reassurances that dramatic improvements have been made following a letter from the hospital trust that admitted their failings may have led to her death.

The inquest into Hayley Fullerton, who died a month after her first birthday in November 2009 after corrective heart surgery, has been adjourned to a later date today (3rd May) at Birmingham Coroners’ Court. It follows four days of ‘harrowing’ evidence which has outlined the circumstances leading to her death.

A letter read out by HM Coroner for Birmingham, Aidan Cotter, at the start of the inquest, sent from the Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to Hayley’s devastated mum Paula, said had Hayley been transferred to the intensive care unit on 10th November and received the early treatment she needed, it may have prevented her death a day later.

It also stated the cardiology team at the hospital failed to consider the breathing problems Hayley had whilst on the intensive care unit immediately after the corrective heart surgery and failed to recognise the seriousness of this when her oxygen levels dipped.

Specialist medical lawyer and Partner at Irwin Mitchell, Mandy Luckman, representing Paula, said  the family are looking for the hospital to reassure them and other patients that steps have been taken to prevent another tragedy after admitting their failings.

She said: “The last four days have been extremely harrowing for the entire family. Paula and Hayley’s granddad, Edward Stevenson, who have both been called to give evidence to the Coroner, have shown immense courage and dignity throughout.

“Whilst they await the Coroner’s verdict, which will be heard later this year, we would like to see some evidence that improvements have been made so the same failings the trust identified cannot happen again. Patient safety has to be the number one priority for everyone in the NHS.

“I can confirm that civil action against Birmingham Children’s Hospital is ongoing and we hope that they will work with us to conclude proceedings to avoid any further unnecessary heartache to Paula and the rest of her family.”

Mum Paula Stevenson commented: “The death of Hayley has had a devastating effect on our entire family. After her heart operation, we had serious concerns about certain aspects of her care on Ward 11 of Birmingham Children’s Hospital. .

“I would also like to thank members of the public who throughout this week have sent messages of support to us. We have been touched by their kind words and this makes us even more determined to ensure that Hayley’s death is fully investigated.”