NHS Scandals: “We watched our child die”, heartbreaking story of little girl who was failed by medics

There are some great people in the medical profession, all would agree and know the job is tough but they’re doing it because they care and want to help people.

That being said I’m getting tired of the NHS activism that goes on in this country, if something is wrong then we should all be calling it out. Our national health service has a duty to do better – this is not the first and won’t be the last scandal. Why a scandal? Because any person that dies through negligence is scandalous.

Evelyn Porter died at Wythenshawe Hospital following a string of ‘rudimentary’ errors, her parents have spoken about their heartbreak, full article from Manchester Evening News below… (4 days ago to MEN credit they posted a piece about this story)

When Emma and Chris Porter took their three-year-old daughter Evelyn to A&E with what they thought was a bad stomach bug, they never expected to go home without her.

Hours later, they found themselves living every parent’s worst nightmare.

Their little girl was gone.

“We watched our child die,” Emma said.

“I watched her take her last breath.

“We went in with her vomiting. We live in the 21st century.

“How can that have happened?”

The devastated parents say they’ve been left with a ‘massive, unfillable void’ in their lives.

Their daughter’s bedroom remains exactly as she left it.

They spoke to the Manchester Evening News following an inquest into their daughter’s death this week.

A coroner said there had been a ‘gross failure of medical attention’ and that there was a ‘direct and causal link between the gross failures and Evelyn’s death’.

He said there had been a string of ‘rudimentary’ errors.

‘Neglect’, the coroner said, contributed to Evelyn’s tragic passing.

A doctor told the hearing that if Evelyn’s care had been better, it is likely she would have survived.

Emma and Chris lost their only child, known as Evie, in traumatising circumstances at Wythenshawe Hospital in 2018.

The couple, from Timperley, Trafford, took her to A&E at around 10am on July 4 following a spell of persistent vomiting.

Evie, who had Down’s syndrome, died just five-and-a half hours later.

“She was a perfectly fit and healthy three-year-old with no problems,” Emma said.

“We have pictures of her from four days before she died.

“If you looked at them, you’d think ‘how an earth did we end up with the outcome that we did?’.”

Medics tried unsuccessfully five times to give Evie intravenous fluids, but it wasn’t until four hours later that fluids were actually administered, the inquest heard.

The court was told nurses tried and failed to take her blood pressure on a number of occasions. The failure was put down to a machine malfunction, but a different machine wasn’t sought.

Blood tests, which showed she was dehydrated, were not ‘acted upon appropriately’, a subsequent hospital investigation found, the coroner heard.

An early warning scoring system – which determines the severity of a child’s condition and the scale of the response – wasn’t calculated properly, meaning senior consultants weren’t involved soon enough and observations weren’t carried out with the necessary frequency, the court was told.

And when Evelyn was transferred from A&E to a ward, a proper patient handover wasn’t carried out, meaning doctors were unaware of what steps and treatment had already been performed, the coroner was told.

Parents Chris and Emma told the M.E.N. they are still traumatised, having watched their little girl die.

Chris, 45, said: “There’s been one narrative that’s run throughout this whole horrible experience. We felt Evie didn’t receive the care she deserved or the care that she had a right to.

“We shouldn’t have left without her that day.

“As you can see from the coroner’s ruling, timing was of the essence. They just didn’t treat her in the fashion that they should have done.”

Emma and Chris say their concerns were dismissed and that there were ‘huge periods of time’ where nobody checked on their child.

Chris and Emma say they feel they were never properly listened to.

“We are not neurotic parents,” Chris added.

“There are so many ‘what ifs?’ for us. But we went to the hospital on the basis of them being professionals who would fix our daughter and make her better.

“We didn’t go into A&E with any other belief other than it was a gastro bug-type illness.”

Emma, 45, added: “We flagged a number of things with a doctor on the day and they just didn’t listen to us. That’s probably one of things that upsets me the most.

“If you’re a doctor reading this, please always listen to the parents. They know their child better than anybody. When you say something isn’t normal, they should listen.

“The trauma of losing Evie in the way we did has had a huge impact on us.”

The inquest – overseen by coroner Zak Golombeck at Manchester Coroners’ Court – heard a post mortem found the cause of Evie’s death was ‘circulatory collapse associated with the consequences of persistent vomiting’, with ‘intestinal obstruction by foreign material’ given as a contributing factor.

Chris and Emma say they were told it is believed the obstruction may have been caused by something Evie had ingested, but that tests were not conclusive.

They say they were told that even if the obstruction had it been identified at the time, the course of treatment would have been the same – ‘stabilisation followed by investigation’.

The couple claim not to have been made aware that Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Wythenshawe Hospital, had carried out an investigation until almost a year after Evie’s death.

Bosses have now admitted there were ‘communication issues’.

Emma says she received a call ‘out of the blue’ while at work and was informed an investigation had been completed – and that bosses had found failings in Evie’s care.

“You can’t just ring someone up who has lost a child and tell them something like that with no warning,” she said.

The inquest hearing loomed over the couple for almost three years.

“This whole thing has been painful,” Chris added.

“We are left with a massive, unfillable void in our lives. Her bedroom is the same, we have got all her clothes hanging up, her coats in the hallway. We didn’t want to get rid of any of those things.

“There are constant reminders that she made our lives better. We miss her beyond words.

“And then we’ve had all this to deal with. It has all just extended the pain.

“We have both had counselling for flashbacks to the final minutes of her life and nightmares.

“I extend that to the rest of our family, who have also lost a niece, a grandchild and a cousin.

“You can’t measure that impact.”

Chris and Emma celebrate Evie’s life by wearing yellow – her favourite colour – on her birthday and the anniversary of her death.

They encourage family and friends, and members of the Down’s syndrome community, to do the same, using the hashtag #yellowforevie on social media.

Emma and Chris say Evie wasn’t defined by her disability.

“She was just this vivacious, head-strong little girl who had a really bright future ahead of her,” Emma said.

“I feel a bit ashamed to say it now, but when I was pregnant and we first got the diagnosis I had all these worries about whether she would have any friends or whether even we would lose friends when she was born.

“It came from a place of ignorance really.

“In fact, we gained so many friends through Evie. She just opened my eyes.

“I loved her from the moment I first saw her.”

Chris said he hopes no other family has to deal with similar trauma.

Coroner Mr Golombeck recorded a narrative conclusion following Wednesday’s hearing.

He said: “Evelyn died as a result of her deterioration not being recognised, which resulted in her condition not being treated in a timely manner.

“The deceased’s death was contributed to by neglect.”

He added: “The trust’s investigation found that there were a number of care problems in respect of Evelyn’s death and that these problems materially contributed to her death.

“Time critical deterioration wasn’t recognised early enough and as a result Evelyn’s care and treatment wasn’t acted upon early enough.

“Whilst I must credit the trust for the candour they have displayed, that takes nothing away from the tragedy of this case.

“It’s clear there were a number of failings in the care afforded to Evelyn. I find that taken together as a collective they represent a gross failing in care.”

Following the hearing, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said it fully accepted the coroners’ findings and that it had ‘already undertaken a number of actions to ensure lessons are learned to improve patient safety and care’.

In an additional comment, responding to Emma and Chris’ criticism, a spokesman said: “The trust acknowledges that there were some communication issues and has apologised to the family for this.

“We recognise that this continues to be an incredibly upsetting time for the family, and we would be happy to meet with the family to fully discuss and address any concerns they may have.”