Baby girl dies from whooping cough after parents rush her to GP, out-of-hours surgery and hospital, as cases of the illness soar
'Communication was terrible', say grieving parents who are demanding an urgent inquiryReported cases of whooping cough in England and Wales this year are already double what they were in 2011, according to HPA

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UPDATED:

11:58 GMT, 1 August 2012

A couple are demanding an urgent inquiry after their five-week-old baby died of whooping cough.

Chelsea Thompson, 21, and partner Todd Haynes, 23, were heartbroken after their daughter Sarae Thompson-Haynes passed away.

She died at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital on March 21, just days after she was take to the family GP, Riverside Clinic and Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk.

Grieving: Chelsea and Todd were heartbroken after the death of baby Sarae (pictured)

Grieving: Chelsea and Todd were heartbroken after the death of baby Sarae (pictured)

Chelsea and her partner Todd are now set to lodge formal complaints with their GP surgery, Harmoni, which runs the out-of-hours doctors service, and Ipswich Hospital.

Miss Thompson, of Ipswich, said: 'We are angry and devastated at the same time. Sarae was absolutely beautiful. It is something you don't wish on anyone.'

Ms Thompson said: 'It is rare [whooping cough] but doctors can test for it, you don't have to end up in hospital.

'It's very hard to come to terms with. Sarae was so cheeky – we managed to have a few smiles and winks even in those precious weeks.'

THE COUGH THAT CAN BE FATAL TO INFANTS

The condition is an infection of the lining of the airways.

The main symptom is a hacking cough followed by a sharp intake of air which sounds like a 'whoop.'

Other symptoms include a runny nose, raised temperature, severe coughing fits and vomiting after coughing

The condition usually affects babies and young children. In rare cases it can be fatal

Children are vaccinated against the infection at two, three and four months of age.

It can be treated successfully with antibiotics and most people make a full recovery.

Reported cases of whooping cough in England and Wales this year are already double what they were in 2011, according to the Health Protection Agency.

She added: 'I can't say it would have
changed the outcome for our little girl but I wish people had listened
to us when we knew there was something wrong.

'I was a first-time mum and I just felt I wasn't being taken seriously.'

Reported cases of whooping cough in England and Wales this year are already double what they were in 2011, according to the Health Protection Agency.

Sarae was born on February 11 but had developed a very bad cough by March 14.

Chelsea took her to her GP in Ipswich, to have her fully checked over.

But Sarae's condition quickly deteriorated so Miss Thompson took her daughter to the Riverside Clinic later that night.

'The doctor gave us an inhaler and told us to put it over her mouth when she was coughing,' she said.

Ailing Sarae was even worse by the next day. Frantic Miss Thompson rushed the sick baby to Ipswich Hospital's A&E department.

Sarae was given chest X-rays and underwent a battery of tests.

'Doctors at Ipswich mentioned she might have bronchitis,' said Chelsea.

'We felt like we always had to ask doctors what was going on. Communication was terrible.'

Sarae was transferred from Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, to Great Ormond Street Hospital on March 21 but she died.

Two days later her shattered parents discovered that a test for whooping cough [known by the medical term pertussis], carried out at Addenbrooke's was positive.

'It wasn't until she was transferred to Addenbrooke's that a test for whooping cough was done,' said Ms Thompson.

'Two days after Sarae died we found out the test was positive.

'Doctors at GOSH sent us a letter informing us that her death certificate had been amended to add pertussis pneumonia as part of the cause of death.'

Precious few weeks: Chelsea with 'cheeky' daughter Sarae, who died in March

Precious few weeks: Chelsea with 'cheeky' daughter Sarae, who died in March

Sarae's cause of death, as recorded on the death certificate, was noted as cardiac failure, severe sepsis as well as pertussis pneumonia.

The Practice Manager of Hawthorn Drive GP surgery said: 'The whole team at the surgery offer their sympathies to the parents and family.

'Our duty to protect patient confidentiality means we cannot comment on individual cases but rest assured we at The Hawthorn Drive GP surgery are committed to offering the best level of care to all our patients.

'We would urge the family to contact us if they need our support or help at this tragic time.'

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said: 'We are very saddened by baby Sarae's death.

'The family have not been in touch with us to date and we urge them to do so as soon as possible so that we can talk about and look into all the areas of concern.'

Dr David Lee, Regional Medical Director for Harmoni, also added his condolences and said patient confidentiality prevented them commenting further.