CHESTERFIELD: Three-year-old died from lack of water

Mylee Ward
Mylee Ward

A three-year-old girl died of dehydration after a doctor failed to carry out basic checks, an inquest heard.

Mylee Ward, of Gipsy Lane, Old Whittington would have survived if she had been given fluid and if she had been examined properly, a coroner has ruled.

During the inquest on Friday the court heard how the tot was rushed into Chesterfield Royal Hospital by a paramedic after not eating or drinking much for around three days.

She was laid across two chairs, instead of being found a trolley, and examined by A&E Dr Mushfikur Rahman, who failed to carry out basic blood or urine tests.

Dr Rahman then sent Mylee home at 1am with antibiotics.

Concerned parents Terrina-Ann Laughton and Kevin Ward described how their daughter was being sick and off her food.

Miss Laughton said this was unusual for Mylee - a giggly, happy little girl who would often tuck into the “biggest Sunday lunch you could imagine for a three-year-old child.”

Mylee suffered from a rare brain disorder which meant her development was delayed and she was unable to speak.

But her parents, worried that she had been quiet and not drinking much for a couple of days, called 111.

Paramedic Annette Maxfield agreed Mylee needed hospital treatment adding: “Her eyes looked quite haunted. I can still see her in her play pen looking at me.”

But once at hospital Dr Rahman “failed to carry out basic bed side tests,” said coroner Robert Hunter.

He added: “These are basic medical checks, nothing complex or sophisticated.”

“Had she been admitted and fluids given, on balance she would have survived.”

The next day, after being sent home, Mr Ward said his daughter looked “old”.

He added: “It was strange, it was like looking at a little old lady. Her eyes were sunken in with dark rings around them.”

Miss Laughton, who has four other children, decided to take Mylee back to hospital but as she was calling the doctor she found Mylee unconscious in her play pen.

She said: “I was hysterical.

“We lay her flat on the floor but could not get any response.”

Mylee was pronounced dead on March 11, 2012.

In his verdict Dr Hunter ruled Mylee died due to dehydration, contributed to by neglect.

Following the hearing Mylee’s family said they would “grieve for her all over again,” adding: “we hope the coroner’s comments will be taken on board by the trust and no one has to lose a child in such terrible circumstances.”

The family is considering legal action.

Chesterfield Hospital’s response:

Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Mylee’s parents at what remains a difficult time for them. We pass on our sincere and unreserved apologies that aspects of the care and treatment their daughter received when they brought her to hospital in March 2012 was poor.

We are pleased that in delivering his verdict The Coroner singled out the nurse that looked after Mylee for the care and compassion he showed towards the little girl. However, we are saddened that The Coroner highlighted two other issues. Firstly, Mylee was laid across two chairs instead of being found a trolley in the examination cubicle.

Secondly, the locum (temporary) doctor* who saw her failed to adequately explore her past medical history; or seek assurance that her condition had stabilised before she was discharged.

Her parents should have been provided with Diarholyte rehydration sachets, but instead were told to purchase some themselves.

This is clearly not acceptable, especially as they were in hospital in the early hours of the morning.

Whilst The Coroner was satisfied that our Emergency Department has robust guidance in place to treat children who present with vomiting and potential dehydration, we offer Mr and Mrs Ward assurance that we will take his comments on board and do all we can to make further improvement.

Last year we appointed two additional consultants to strengthen the team to seven, ensuring we have experienced doctors on duty during evenings and weekends.

We have already arranged to make rehydration medication readily available; and we will be issuing more comprehensive advice to parents about exactly how much they should encourage their child to drink.

These changes or our frank apology cannot change what happened, but we hope it demonstrates that the mistakes made have been recognised and acted on to improve the care we provide.