Girl, four, dies from sepsis following ‘missed opportunities’ at hospitals as her heartbroken parents pay tribute to their ‘caring and special’ daughter
- Eva Hayden, four, collapsed and died after falling ill with sepsis in January 2020
- Coroner Andre Rebello said there had been ‘missed opportunities’ by doctors
- Her mother Michelle, 50, said her tragic young daughter ‘loved to help people’
Parents of a ‘caring’ four-year-old girl who ‘loved to help people’ have paid their tributes after she died from sepsis following ‘missed opportunities’ at multiple hospitals.
Eva Hayden was rushed to Alder Hey’s emergency department in Liverpool after she collapsed in January 2020. Despite best attempts by her father and paramedics to resuscitate her, she died.
Her mother Michelle, 50, said: ‘We remember Eva as such a caring little girl and in her short life she just loved to help people. Even at nursery, when there was a little girl struggling to settle, Eva took her under her wing to the point that the little girl would only come into nursery when Eva was there.
‘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.’
Little Eva, from Kirkby, had first developed an infection in her left foot in October 2019, when she was admitted to Ormskirk District General Hospital. She was transferred to Alder Hey and discharged with oral antibiotics on October 23.
Eva Hayden (pictured) was rushed to Alder Hey’s emergency department in Liverpool after she collapsed just weeks after Christmas in January 2020. Despite best attempts by her father and paramedics to resuscitate her, she died.
Eva’s mother Michelle (pictured), 50, said: ‘We remember Eva as such a caring little girl and in her short life she just loved to help people. Even at nursery, when there was a little girl struggling to settle, Eva took her under her wing to the point that the little girl would only come into nursery when Eva was there.’
Blood analysis revealed she had neutropenia and the young girl had three more tests in November at Ormskirk hospital, but her blood count was low. Despite this no action was taken and no further tests were arranged, her family said.
But in January the following year, she fell ill with a fever, and had a rash over most of her body and pain in her feet when walking.
She visited the Kirkby walk-in-centre where the family were advised to take her straight to A&E at Alder Hey – however she was discharged with a virus.
On January 10, her mother Michelle, 50, went to work her night shift as a support worker and the following morning Eva’s condition deteriorated. Her father Ged could not revive her and her death was confirmed in A&E at around 7am on January 11.
It soon transpired that Eve had developed sepsis after her family were not warned of the risks of a condition that was being investigated and her daughter’s potential susceptibility to the infection.
Two hospital trusts have since apologised to Eva’s parents for their ‘poor communication’ after a coroner called for changes to their practices to prevent future fatalities.
Eva’s official cause of death was sepsis and bone marrow hypoplasia.
Little Eva (pictured), from Kirkby, had first developed an infection in her left foot in October 2019, when she was admitted to Ormskirk District General Hospital. She was transferred to Alder Hey and discharged with oral antibiotics on October 23
Coroner Andre Rebello said there had been ‘missed opportunities’ by doctors.
Ormskirk General Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have now apologised to the family.
Her mother 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.
‘If we had known, we would have done everything possible to ensure our little girl received the right treatment.
Thousand of ambulance crews across England and Wales are to strike for a second time on January 23 in pay dispute meaning only people with life-threatening medical problems will be rushed to hospital under blue lights
More than 2,600 ambulance workers in the West Midlands, North West, North East, East Midlands and Wales will be involved in the walkout.
‘It’s really hard to believe a doctor did not sit us down to discuss this with us and how things could have been so different. 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.’
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.
‘Eva was a bubbly little girl who loved life and she relied on the hospital staff to keep her safe and ensure that she received all the follow up she needed.
‘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.
‘Investigations identified a number of failings and both trusts have learnt from this devastating case to avoid similar mistakes being made in the future.’
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.’
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