Girl, 4, died of sepsis after ‘missing opportunities’ in hospitals

Eve Hayden

Eva Hayden died of sepsis weeks after Christmas in 2020 (Picture: JMW Solicitors/Liverpool Echo)

The parents of a four-year-old who died of sepsis after doctors said “missed opportunities” have paid tribute to their “caring little girl”.

Eva Hayden, from Kirkby, collapsed weeks after Christmas in 2019 and was taken to the emergency room at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Despite attempts by her father and paramedics to resuscitate her, she could not be revived.

“We remember Eva as such a caring little girl and in her short life she loved helping people,” said mum Michelle.

“Even in kindergarten, when a little girl was struggling to settle in, Eva took her under her wing so much that the little girl only came to kindergarten when Eva was there.”

Eve Hayden

The two hospitals involved have apologized following an investigation into Eva’s death (Photo: Facebook)

In the month before her death, Eva visited two hospitals after developing an infection in her left foot in October 2019.

She was initially taken to Ormskirk District General Hospital before being transferred to Alder Hey, where she was discharged on oral antibiotics.

Blood tests revealed she had neutropenia – a low white blood cell count that can increase the risk of infection – and three more tests the following month showed levels remained low but hospitals took no further action.

In January 2020, Eva became unwell after developing a fever, a rash on her chest and limbs, and pain in her feet.

Her parents first took her to the Kirkby Walk-in Center before being advised to go straight to the emergency room at Alder Hey, where she was discharged with a virus.

The girl’s condition worsened just days later and she died, the cause of death being determined to be sepsis and bone marrow hypoplasia.

Coroner Andre Rebello said doctors at Ormskirk General Hospital and Alder Hey had “missed opportunities” as he called for changes to prevent future deaths.

The two hospitals have since apologized for the “poor communication” and admitted there had been a “number of mistakes” and lessons learned.

Eve Hayden

Eva’s mum described her as a “caring little girl” (Picture: JMW Solicitors/Liverpool Echo)

Michelle said the family felt let down by doctors who failed to warn them of the seriousness of their daughter’s condition.

“It’s really hard to believe that a doctor didn’t sit down with us to discuss this and how things could have been different. If we had known that, we would have done everything we could to make sure our little girl got the right treatment.

“We cannot believe how poor the attitude of the hospitals has been with such a serious condition. They were so blase and at no point did we feel that Eva’s health was endangered by this condition.’

A spokesman for the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation is deeply sorry for the communication failures that led to Eva’s death. Both hospital operators have acknowledged their liability in this tragic case at an early stage and we would like to express our deepest sympathy to Eva’s family. Investigations revealed a number of shortcomings and both Trusts have learned from this devastating case to avoid similar mistakes in the future.’

A spokesman for the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust said: “The Trust extends its sincere condolences to Eva’s family for their devastating loss. After Eva’s death, an immediate and thorough investigation was conducted and action plans implemented to ensure lessons were learned.’

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Justin Scacco

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