A statement issued on behalf of the mother of Chesterfield girl Gracie Foster

A statement has been released on behalf of the mother of Gracie Foster, the four-year-old girl who died from sepsis just hours after being sent home from Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Gracie Foster.
Gracie Foster.

On Friday, coroner Dr Robert Hunter concluded Gracie's death was 'preventable' and highlighted 'gross failures' by healthcare professionals.

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Speaking on behalf of Michelle Foster, Gracie's mum, Ms White said: "Nothing will bring Gracie back - her early, tragic and avoidable death is something from which her family will never recover. Gracie walked into hospital on the day of her death a happy, chatty and joyous little girl. She deteriorated suddenly becoming agitated, floppy and sleepy. In spite of this, Gracie was sent home from hospital with her family believing she would recover from what was just a routine viral illness.

"Gracie's family never imagined that the very same day they would see their little girl covered in tubes, being resuscitated - witnessing Gracie's death in such traumatic circumstances is something they have to relive daily.

"The family hopes that what happened to Gracie will raise awareness and understanding of the devastating illness of meningococcal septicaemia, so that her death serves to lessen the chances of her tragic story being repeated.

"Meningococcal septicaemia is a poorly understood illness in terms of the symptoms to look out for, not only by the general public but also by the medical profession. They can be similar to those you may experience with a routine viral illness. However, it is well recognised that there are important red flag symptoms which set the illness apart from viral infection.

"The inquest revealed some extremely concerning evidence of Gracie being deprived of basic medical treatment during her time at Chesterfield Royal Hospital on October 21, 2015. The coroner identified systems failures within the hospital which were further compounded by the fact that basic vital signs were not undertaken and a clinical history was not performed. The seriousness of Gracie's condition was underestimated, went undiagnosed and untreated. Had such treatment been provided, Gracie is likely to have survived.

"The coroner's conclusion was that there were gross failures by the attending healthcare professionals and, as such, Gracie died of natural causes, contributed to by neglect.

"The inquest also raised issues regarding Public Health England's limitations when it comes to notifiable diseases such as the one Gracie had. Another child at Gracie's school had been diagnosed with meningococcal disease just weeks before Gracie's death. However, as Public Health England only notifies secondary healthcare providers when there has been an outbreak of such an illness, as opposed to a seemingly isolated case, Chesterfield Royal Hospital was not aware that Gracie may have come into contact with the disease.

"It is understood that the coroner will be writing to Public Health England expressing his concerns and asking them to review the policy in light of Gracie’s story. It is hoped this will prevent other families from having to suffer such heartbreak."