Baby death devastating, says mother who accuses hospital of neglect

Baby death devastating, says mother who accuses hospital of neglect

A mother who accused a hospital of neglecting her baby after open-heart surgery today spoke of the “devastating effect” of the child’s death.

Hayley Fullerton died at Birmingham Children’s Hospital on November 11, 2009, one month after her first birthday.

An inquest into her death at Birmingham Coroner’s Court was today adjourned until September, when Aidan Cotter, Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, will hear more evidence.

Following the adjournment, Hayley’s mother Paula Stevenson said: “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 at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.”

Ms Stevenson, 40, has told the inquest she believes her daughter, who was born in Northern Ireland on October 6 2008 with a heart defect and a hole in the heart, could have lived if staff at Birmingham Children’s Hospital had listened to her concerns.

The court heard that Hayley underwent palliative surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast weeks after she was born. She was then flown to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for corrective heart surgery on October 14, 2009.

Ms Stevenson, who is from Northern Ireland but now lives on Australia’s Gold Coast, said the operation was a success and Hayley was transferred to the hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, where she spent 17 days before being moved on to a normal ward.

On November 9 an X-ray revealed that Hayley’s right lung had collapsed. She was given physiotherapy the following day but on the morning of November 11 both lungs collapsed and she went into cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead after a team of doctors spent 20 minutes trying to save her, the inquest heard.

During the hearing Ms Stevenson said her child had been failed “abominably” by medical staff on ward 11, describing her experience as “brutal”.

She said staff at the hospital neglected Hayley, “dumped” her at the end of a ward and ignored the family’s concerns about her breathing as she recovered from her surgery.

Mandy Luckman, a medical lawyer from Irwin Mitchell representing Ms Stevenson, 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.”

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