'We felt like third world parents begging for our child's life': Family of heart failure baby tell how they were treated with 'utter contempt' at hospital where girl diedNurses were too busy to regular check patients two nights before infant died
One-year-old Hayley was 'overlooked and neglected' Doctors were 'arrogant and unprofessional'
Parents were repeatedly told there was 'nothing to worry about'Hospital apologises for not requesting treatment on Hayley soon enoughWhen family expressed concerns doctor treated them with 'utter contempt'
18:46 GMT, 1 May 2012
Paula Stevenson, seen here with a picture of her baby girl Hayley, describe her daughter's treatment at Birmingham Children's Hospital as 'brutal'
The family of a seriously-ill baby who died of heart failure have told how 'arrogant' medics made them feel like 'third world parents begging for their child's life' when they raised concerns about her welfare.
Hayley Fullerton died within a month of her first birthday after doctors ignored her mother's pleas to transfer the little girl to an intensive care unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
An inquest into the infant's death today heard that when her family raised concerns with a doctor they were treated with 'utter contempt', while nurses admitted they were too busy to conduct hourly patient checks as required.
Paula Stevenson, who said her daughter was 'overlooked and neglected' at Birmingham Children's Hospital, had said she even tried to bribe a nurse with a 100 gift voucher in the hope of improving her care.
Hayley's grandmother, Sylvia Stevenson, who has since died, had asked Dr Oliver Stumper, a paediatric cardiologist, what treatment could be given to the youngster when her condition worsened.
In a statement written before her death, which was read to the court at Hayley's inquest yesterday, Mrs Stevenson said that Dr Stumper had 'barked' his response to her questions, adding: 'My daughter said I looked like a parent in a third world country begging for my child's life.'
Her husband Edward Stevenson told the coroner that Dr Stumper 'glared' at his wife and 'gave her a look of utter contempt' when she asked about the physiotherapy for her grand-daughter.
A ward nurse at the hospital also admitted at the inquest that staff did not follow procedure by regularly checking patients prior to Hayley's death.
Ward nurse Jackie Clinton today told the hearing that on November 9, the day Hayley's lung collapsed, staff did not fill in hourly progress charts as required.
She also admitted under questioning that staff instead relied in monitors – which she also said were frequently ignored.
Hayley Fullerton was born with a hole in her heart, and had to undergo surgery aged 10-months-old to correct it
It was during the recovery from the surgery when complications arose, ultimately leading to her tragic death
She told the inquest: 'We weren't following the procedure, on the night of the 9th of November it was very busy and one nurse was off sick.
'The nurses often have up to three patients and if they are caring for a patient in a cubicle and another child alarm sounds they know through experience whether they should attend the alarm or not.
'I think we respond to the alarms appropriately and if the parents are with the children there are emergency cords that they can pull.'
Hayley had been diagnosed with a hole in the heart before she was born, and was admitted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for corrective surgery when she was ten months old.
Miss Stevenson said that while the operation was a success, complications arose during Hayley’s recovery after doctors inserted the wrong size tube into her lung, causing it to collapse.
Paula Stevenson told an inquest her one-year-old daughter was overlooked and neglected at the hospital
The inquest heard Hayley’s parents became increasingly concerned that their only child was struggling to breathe and looked ‘puffy’ – but were repeatedly told by medics that there was nothing to worry about.
When her lung collapsed for a second time, Hayley was put in an isolation ward, despite Miss Stevenson and husband Bobby Fullerton begging doctors to transfer her to intensive care.
The couple and Hayley’s grandparents, Sylvia and Edward Stevenson, kept a vigil at her bedside, but Hayley died in November 2009 – four weeks after the corrective surgery.
Giving evidence at the inquest today, Dr Stumper said: 'I think we provided therapy by and large at the right time.
Hayley Fullerton with her grandparents, Edward
and Sylvia Stevenson, both helped keep a bedside vigil for the four
weeks Hayley spent in hospital before her death
It was during Hayley's recovery from the surgery when complications arose, ultimately leading to her tragic death.
Hayley was born in Northern Ireland on October 6 2008 with a heart defect and a hole in the heart, and underwent palliative surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast weeks later, Birmingham Coroner’s Court heard.
In October 2009 she was flown to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for corrective heart surgery.
Her mother, who lives with Hayley’s father Bobby Fullerton and their second daughter Casey in Australia, said the operation was a success and Hayley was transferred to the hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, where she spent 17 days before being moved onto a normal ward.