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Dead Essex baby's 'hospital care failings'

Parents of a baby girl who died waiting for a heart operation told an inquest they had been let down by the NHS “in the worst way possible”.

Six-month-old Iris Day from Great Braxted, Essex died on 2 December 2016 after going to Colchester Hospital while in respiratory distress.

She died a week before surgery was due at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

The coroner said there were “failings in the care provided by Colchester Hospital”.

The heart operation had been cancelled on three occasions in the month before her death.

An external review conducted by consultant paediatrician Wilf Kelsall identified problems in the transfer of care between Southend Hospital, where Iris was born, the Evelina Hospital where her heart operation was scheduled, and Colchester Hospital where she died.

Dr Kelsall said there were signs Iris, who had Down’s syndrome, was deteriorating while at Colchester Hospital.

“I’m not sure that the medical staff prioritised tasks as they might,” he said.

Hannah Day, 29, who had Iris through IVF said the couple were given “false reassurance” their daughter was stable at Colchester.

She and her husband Ben, 41, went home to collect belongings for Iris, but later received a call asking them to return.

They got back to find Iris lifeless and surrounded by medical staff attempting resuscitation.

“I wasn’t able to be with my baby when she passed away or console her when she was inconsolable. That’s something I will never forgive them for,” Mrs Day said.

Essex’s assistant coroner Dr Jolanta McKenzie, recording a narrative conclusion, said Iris’s condition was not identified by treating clinicians, her condition worsened and she died.

Colchester hospital said it had now changed the way it monitored children whose condition was deteriorating as well as its communication with other hospitals.

A spokesman at Evelina London said it was “devastated” to hear Iris had died.

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