Doctors ‘did all they could’ to save Sheffield baby’s life

Sheffield Children's Hospital
Sheffield Children's Hospital

Doctors in Sheffield ‘did all they could’ to save the life of a six-month-old baby who died of blood poisoning, an inquest today concluded.

Aysha Holubova was rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital on July 10 last year with sepsis, which is when the immune system overreacts to an infection or injury and attacks the body’s own organs and tissues.

The six-month-old, of Firth Park Road, in Sheffield, sadly died that afternoon despite medics’ best efforts to resuscitate her.

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Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard how Aysha had attended Upwell Street Surgery once and the hospital twice in the five days leading up to her death.

Her parents were worried as she had a cough, a slightly raised temperature and had been drinking less milk than normal, but on each occasion she was sent home after being diagnosed with a mild viral infection.

An independent expert today told the court that all three doctors who saw Aysha on those occasions had followed the guidelines when checking for the warning signs of sepsis, with observations suggesting she was at low risk of the condition.

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Dr Rebecca Salter, a paediatric A&E consultant at St Mary’s Hospital in London, said that unfortunately sepsis could be very hard to spot in young children, who often only display symptoms very late.

In Aysha’s case, the court heard how she had developed the bacterial infection group A streptococcus, which led to septicaemia - or blood poisoning – and, ultimately sepsis.

Aysha’s father, Peter Ziga, said his daughter had not been her usual ‘happy’ and ‘playful’ self in the days leading up to her death and asked why she had not been given antibiotics.

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Dr Salter said doctors must be careful not to over-issue antibiotics to prevent bacteria becoming resistant, and said that given Aysha’s symptoms it had been ‘reasonable’ not to prescribe them.

She did say that Aysha may have benefited from a longer period of observation on her second hospital visit, though it was not clear this would have made any difference.

Coroner Tanyka Rawden concluded that Aysha died of natural causes and had been ‘appropriately examined and assessed’ at hospital.

Addressing Aysha’s father she said: “I hope you’ve taken at least some comfort from the findings today that the medical staff did all they could for her. I’m truly sorry for your loss.”

For more information about sepsis, which kills 44,000 people in the UK each year, visit sepsistrust.org.