Inquest Into Death Of One-Year-Old Girl At Children’s Hospital Reconvenes

Inquest Into Death Of One-Year-Old Girl At Children’s Hospital Reconvenes


An inquest is set to resume at Birmingham Coroner’s Court on 12th September, to hear further evidence regarding the circumstances of the hospital death of a baby girl.

Hayley Fullerton had just celebrated her first birthday when she died at Birmingham Children’s Hospital after undergoing corrective surgery for a heart condition. Her death occurred on 11th November 2009, twelve days after being transferred from the hospital’s intensive care unit to a general ward.

In April this year, HM Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Aidan Cotter, heard three days of evidence but adjourned the inquest after the Hospital Trust requested permission to conduct their own expert report.

The inquest is due to last for a further three days, (12th – 14th September) and the Coroner will hear the findings from the Trust’s own investigation as well as evidence from a number of experts. Hayley’s father, Bobby Fullerton, who has not previously given evidence, will also attend the inquest to provide an additional statement on behalf of the family.

The inquest will then further adjourn to allow the Coroner to consider all evidence, before delivering his verdict in November.

At the start of the inquest in April, a letter was read out by the Coroner, which had been sent from the Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to Hayley’s devastated mum, Paula Stevenson.
In it, the Hospital Trust admitted that if Hayley had been transferred back to the intensive care unit on 10th November and had received the early treatment she needed, it may have prevented her death a day later.

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

Specialist medical lawyer and Partner at Irwin Mitchell, Mandy Luckman, representing the family said: “The past few months have been extremely harrowing for the entire family. Paula and Hayley’s Granddad, Edward Stevenson, who were both called to give evidence to the Coroner, have shown immense courage, dignity and patience throughout and now eagerly await further evidence which is due to be heard this week.

“The inquest has already highlighted a number of aspects of Hayley’s care which the Chief Executive of the Trust has already admitted could have been handled better.”

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.

“We have always believed that we owed it to our beautiful little girl to ensure that no stone was left unturned in our search for answers as to why she died.

“We would also like to thank members of the public who have sent so many 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.

“Having waited almost three years, we are keen to hear the final verdict as, until then, we cannot begin to move forward.”