Mum says ‘trust in health system gone’ as girl, 2, dies in heartbreaking circumstances

The mother of a toddler who died from invasive Group A Strep infection in a Dublin hospital just over 48 hours after being discharged has spoken about losing trust in Ireland’s healthcare system.An inquest at Dublin District Coroner’s Court on Tuesday concluded with a verdict of medical misadventure regarding the death of two-year-old Phoenix Graham-Hadyen from Malahide, Co Dublin.

Phoenix had been admitted to Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street in October last year after being unwell for several days. Coroner Clare Keane highlighted evidence of missed opportunities and delays in her treatment, along with a lack of “full awareness” among hospital staff regarding sepsis guidelines. Dr. Keane emphasized the time-critical nature of treating sepsis, noting that every hour of delay increases the risk of death from septic shock.

Phoenix’s mother, Lauren Graham, reported that her daughter had been vomiting, eating and drinking less than usual, and developed a cough and high temperature. Ms. Graham noted that Phoenix’s temperature was over 41ºC on her first visit, and the doctor attempted to administer steroids, which Phoenix mostly spat out. Despite being discharged, Ms. Graham returned two days later, expressing dissatisfaction with the hospital staff’s approach.

Postmortem results revealed that Phoenix died from invasive Group A Strep infection and pneumonia secondary to RSV—a common viral infection in young children.

Consultant paediatrician Louise Kyne acknowledged delays in considering, treating, and administering intravenous antibiotics for sepsis. She recommended the consideration of introducing an early warning scoring system, and Ms. Graham expressed a complete loss of trust in the health system.

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