4-year-old girl died of sepsis after doctors said she had a virus and sent her home

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Skyla Whiting, from Pontpool, Wales, died days before her fifth birthday after falling ill with an upset stomach and medical staff found that several “missed opportunities” were contributing factors in her death.

Skyla Whiting died days before her fifth birthday
Skyla Whiting died days before her fifth birthday

A four-year-old girl has died of sepsis after doctors sent her home from hospital saying she had a virus.

Skyla Whiting, from Pontpool, Wales, died days before her fifth birthday after falling ill with an upset stomach and medical staff found that several “missed opportunities” were contributing factors in her death.

An inquest into her death at Newport Coroner’s Court on Friday heard that, having fallen ill on May 10, 2018, Skyla was seen by a GP before being admitted to Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny on May 12. with fever, high temperature and elevated heart rate.

Doctors at the hospital diagnosed her with a viral infection, but her parents remained concerned and she was readmitted the next day because she was vomiting and had a large rash.

The inquest heard that doctors who saw her on the night of May 13 did not consider she might have sepsis and decided to have her blood tested around 8:30pm, WalesOnline reports.

However, these were not done until 10:30 pm and the results were available an hour later. However, the doctors did not see these results for another 45 minutes to an hour.

The inquest heard that the doctors who saw her on the night of May 13 did not consider that she might have sepsis.
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Image:

Amy Whiting)

Skyla was not yet considered to have sepsis until a senior consultant made the ward round at 9 am on May 14 and recognized that she was suffering from septic shock.

Later that day, she was taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and placed in an intensive care ward where she died on May 15, just over a week before her birthday.

A medical cause of death was assigned as sepsis resulting from a lower respiratory tract infection.

Sarah Le Fevre, Gwent Coroner’s Assistant, said there had been “missed opportunities” to prevent the four-year-old’s death, adding that evidence suggested an earlier intervention might have led to a different outcome.

The inquest heard the findings of a report compiled by Helen Morgan and Dr. Nadeem Syed of the Aneurin Bevan University Board of Health which highlighted the failure of doctors at the hospital to realize the seriousness of Skyla’s condition.

Pediatric consultant Dr Syed told the hearing: “Sepsis is not that common in children and is one of the leading preventable causes of death in children in the UK. It would not be in the daily dealings of pediatric staff.” .


Skyla was taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and placed in an intensive care ward where she died on May 15.
(

Image:

Amy Whiting)

“However, this was a failure to recognize the ill child with sepsis and the severity of his illness. The child was not thought to be critically ill, so it was not escalated.”

Dr. Syed added that there were concerns about how the hospital had treated a returning patient, adding that Skyla’s mother had “not been properly listened to” by members of the department.

“There was no formal readmission policy in place at the time of this incident,” he said. “It was more dependent on the individual patient.

“This policy has been developed. The children are now taken as new patients and given new doctors and new eyes and ears. The readmission is to see what happened at the previous appointment and what can be done better.”

The inquiry also heard that low staffing levels at the hospital led to a lack of immediate intervention from senior management. The main doctor on duty at the time was available until 1 am, but an hour later he was called in to attend to another seriously ill patient. He first saw Skyla at 9 am on May 14 and recognized the seriousness of her condition.

Dr. Syed told the hearing that while there were “declining staffing levels,” there was also “an expectation of declining patient care.”

On behalf of himself and Ms Morgan, he added that the incident had been taken “very seriously” and concluded: “Different layers are being put in place to improve the safety of the child so that future incidents do not occur. Awareness of the sepsis is part of the induction taken by every doctor and junior doctor.”

In summary, Ms. Le Fevre said that “the seriousness of Skyla’s condition was not recognized” and that based on the evidence presented to her, on the balance of probabilities, her death could have been prevented had she received proper treatment. and faster diagnosis.

He added that a conclusion of natural causes was not appropriate and instead found that negligence contributed to Skyla’s death.

Ms. Le Fevre recorded a narrative conclusion, adding: “Skyla Whiting’s death from sepsis was due to negligence that a) proper treatment was not administered between approximately 11:30 p.m. on May 13 and 1 a.m. on May 14, 2018 and b) sepsis was not diagnosed was performed between 1 am and 9 am on May 14, 2018.”

The coroner concluded the investigation by expressing his “sincere condolences” to Skyla’s family.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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