Mum of Coco Rose Bradford says she feels 'let down' and has 'more questions' after inquest

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A mother from St Ives says she is disappointed in the findings of an inquest into the death of her six-year-old daughter.

A coroner in Truro found Coco Rose Bradford did not die as a result of sepsis, which he said had been widely misreported, but due to a serious kidney condition linked to E. Coli.

Coroner Andrew Cox said whilst Coco had been a ‘’hostage to fortune’’ and there had been a delay in escalating her treatment to intensive care at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, those delays had not contributed to her death.

Coco had initially been admitted to the hospital on July 26 2017 with signs of E. Coli.

The inquest, which began in late November, was told she died on July 31 2017 from multi organ failure due to a serious kidney condition called HUS that can sometimes develop from E. Coli. 

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has apologised Credit: Rachel Bradford

Before the inquest, Coco’s family had understood that sepsis had been a contributory factor in their daughter's death. 

The inquest heard none of Coco’s blood cultures had revealed sepsis, and that there had been an error written in a microbiology report.

Coco’s mum Rachel Bradford told ITV News she is disappointed with the findings. 

Rachel said: "It's so unfair, she was six years old. I feel so let down and I feel like I let her down. I believe it was an avoidable death, and I will never ever accept that it wasn't.

"The implications of this never end for us, it's been the worst four and a half years of my life.''

‘’Whatever the court found we will never be able to erase the experience of our time in Treliske from our minds. In many ways we’re left with more questions than answers.’’

What happened to Coco Rose Bradford?

Coco Rose Bradford was admitted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital with vomiting and diahorrea on July 26 2017. She was initially investigated for gastroenteritis and placed on a paediatric ward.

By the night of July 27 to the early hours of July 28, Coco had developed a serious kidney condition known as HUS, a complication associated with the bacterial infection E. Coli. 

On July 28, Coco was moved to intensive care and then transferred to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Coco remained critically ill and died three days later.

Four years on during the inquest in December 2021, a children's kidney specialist Dr Yincent Tse was called to give independent evidence. He said he did not believe Coco could have been saved.

Coco was admitted to hospital in July 2017 Credit: ITV West Country

Asked if it would have changed the outcome if Coco had been admitted a day before when she was first taken to RCH Treliske and given 'optimal fluids' instead of being sent home, Dr Tsi replied: "Unfortunately, because there is no treatment for the HUS toxin or the disease itself, I don't think that would have made a difference."

Coroner Andrew Cox acknowledged Coco should have been admitted to the paediatric ward on July 25 rather than being discharged. 

However, he concluded that - in light of the aggressive nature of Coco’s HUS - the delays did not cause her death.

Hospital statement

In a statement following the inquest, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust medical director, Dr Allister Grant, said: ‘’Today the coroner has provided his conclusions following an inquest into the death of six-year-old Coco Bradford.

"We entirely accept his conclusions and profoundly regret the failings in the care Coco received.

"While the coroner has concluded, based on the expert evidence, that different treatment would not have avoided Coco’s tragic death, this does not take away from the fact that we let Coco and her family down.

"This is a matter of deep sorrow to those who cared for Coco, as was acknowledged during the inquest.

"We also regret Coco’s family has been caused additional distress by the belief that Coco’s poorly condition was explained by sepsis, as opposed to an overwhelming inflammatory condition called HUS (Haemolytic uraemic syndrome). We note the coroner has concluded on the evidence presented during the inquest that Coco did in fact not have sepsis.

"The quality and safety of the care received by each and every patient is our highest priority.

"Following an independent investigation into her death a detailed action plan has been fully implemented and we will now ensure we review the coroner’s conclusions with great care to identify any further learning that can improve the provision of care to children, including those with learning difficulties.’’

The coroner returned a conclusion of natural causes.