Grieving family whose toddler died of sepsis say doctors at Wigan Infirmary should have tested her

  • Video report by Granada Reports Journalist Zoe Muldoon

A grieving family are calling for answers after their 22-month-old daughter died hours after being sent home from hospital and told to take Calpol.

Hailey Thompson was just a few months away from her second birthday when she started to become unwell before Christmas. Her death has now been linked to the Strep A infection.

After visits to her doctor and Wigan A&E, she was found unresponsive in her cot on 19 December.

Despite being rushed to hospital by paramedics, she was declared dead within minutes of arriving.

Hailey Thompson with her parents and sister Charlotte. Credit: Family photo

Mum Ibolya accompanied her daughter in the ambulance, but dad Kris stayed at home to look after her sister.

When he arrived at the hospital, via police escort shortly after, he was told it was too late.

"Literally two minutes before I got to the hospital they pronounced her dead before I got there," he said.

"What I saw still haunts me. It's just thinking 'no, no this can't be true'."

Early post mortem results show Hailey died from sepsis and pneumonia, but the little girl was not tested for either at the hospital.

Her parents are now demanding to know why.

Kris said: "Her breathing was not how a 22-month-old should be breathing, so why question what the parents are saying, just look into it.

"Just test her, just do something - don't say she's got a viral infection and come back in two or three days, because obviously two or three days is too late."

Hailey's worried parents initially took her to the GP where they were told she had a virus.

But days later, Hailey's breathing became laboured and, after being told they would be waiting more than an hour for an ambulance, her parents took her to Wigan Infirmary.

After a four-and-a-half hour wait in A&E, a doctor checked Hailey over and said the one-year-old had a virus so the family were sent home.

Less than 24 hours later, she was found unresponsive in her cot.

Hailey's death remains unascertained while more tests are carried out, including one to determine whether she had the Strep A infection.

"I feel angry, I feel empty, I just can't even explain," Ibolya said.

"It might have been, if they'd have kept her in on that night, it might have been the same, but we'd feel she was in the right place and they were trying to help her."

For now, the family are planning Hailey's funeral, while cherishing memories of their little girl.

The family are now planning Hailey's funeral. Credit: Family photo

Hailey's seven-year-old sister Charlotte has been remembering the times they would dance together and play in the bath.

Charlotte said: "When there was music, she would hold her arms out and we would dance in circles and she would hug me.

"She did say a few words and every morning she would say sissy sissy."

Ibolya added: "I loved every single thing about her, how clever she was, how funny she was, how she just used to shout me 'mummy, mummy'.

"She used to run to me when I went to pick her up, go grab he coat and bag and say 'let's go mummy'."

There was further heartbreak to follow as the family had to endure more than a fortnight of waiting to find out how Hailey died, with no contact from the hospital or coroner.

The family were told Hailey would need to be transferred on 28 December to Manchester Children's Hospital for a post-mortem examination, but not given any further information on timescales or what would happen next.

They faced having to call the hospital each day until they were told the results of the post-mortem on Friday 30 December.

Kris and Ibolya are now considering legal action against the hospital.

They want to make sure no other family goes through the same heartbreak.

A spokesperson for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust said: "Our sincere condolences are with Hailey’s family and we are in touch to offer our support at this tragic time.

"The Trust is currently carrying out an investigation, taking into account the concerns raised by Hailey’s family."

Timeline of Hailey's illness

  • The family first noticed Hailey was unwell at the beginning of December. The GP prescribed antibiotics, but her parents were advised to stop them after concerns she had an allergic reaction.

  • Her condition seemed to improve and she went to nursery on Thursday 15 December.

  • The following day she was sent home early and went to a pre-arranged doctor's appointment where the GP said she had a viral infection and needed fluids with Calpol or Nuerofen.

  • On Saturday 17 December Hailey seemed to improve was eating and drinking well.

  • On Saturday night she went to bed at her usual time of 6.30pm, but when Kris checked on her at 11:30pm her breathing was loud and laboured.

  • Kris rang 999 but struggled to get through, after waiting 20 minutes he tried 111, and was told there was at least a two hour wait to speak to someone medical.

  • The ambulance service returned Kris' earlier call and advised it would be quicker to drive Hailey to hospital as there was more than an hour wait for paramedics, the family arrived at Accident and Emergency at 1am on Sunday 18 December.

  • The family waited more than four hours to see a doctor who checked Hailey's blood pressure but was unable to check her tonsils.

  • They were told to go home, keep her hydrated and keep giving her Calpol. If she did not improve in three days her parents were told to bring her back to A&E.

  • On Sunday 18 December, Kris and Ibolya say Hayley had no energy so went to bed at 6:15pm.

  • When they checked on her at midnight her breathing was again laboured, but no more severe than on Saturday.

  • Less than six hours later she was found unresponsive in her bed.