Heart baby 'failed by Birmingham Children's Hospital'

Hayley Fullerton Hayley Fullerton died on 11 November 2009

A 13-month-old baby might not have died if she had received better medical care at Birmingham Children's Hospital, an inquest has been told.

The conclusion of the hospital's inquiry into Hayley Fullerton's death was read out by coroner Aiden Cotter.

Hayley had successful heart surgery but died in November 2009 after developing an infection and a collapsed lung in hospital, the inquest was told.

Her mother Paula Stevenson claimed staff "ignored" the family's concerns.

Wrong tube

Opening the inquest, Mr Cotter said: "The hospital's internal investigation concluded that there were failings in the medical care that she received and she might not have died if things had been done differently."

Mrs Stevenson, from County Down, Northern Ireland, told the inquest her daughter was born with pulmonary atresia and ventricular septal defect, a blockage where blood cannot get from the heart into the lungs.

She was operated on at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Mrs Stevenson told the inquest a follow-up operation performed at Birmingham Children's Hospital was a success and although the wrong tube was inserted into Hayley's lung causing an initial collapse, treatment on intensive care and on ward 12 was good.

She claimed when Hayley was moved to ward 11 the level of care fell.

She said an infection in her chest wound was not looked after properly and that staff also responded slowly to alarms.

On 24 October, after she vomited and her breathing became worse, an X-ray showed her lung had collapsed.

Mrs Stevenson said: "I believe very strongly that Hayley's death could have been prevented. I truly believe that if they had listened to me and my parents, she would still be alive. They turned their backs on me and my daughter."

Evidence from family and staff will be heard over the next four days and the hearing is likely to be adjourned until September.

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