'Serious Failures' at Birmingham Children's Hospital

A coroner says there were 'serious failures' in the treatment of a baby girl who died at Birmingham Children's Hospital following open heart surgery.

Hayley Fullerton died one month after her first birthday after undergoing corrective surgery for a heart condition. She died on November 11th 2009, 12 days after being transferred from the hospital's intensive care unit to a general ward.

Her mother Paula Stevenson (pictured), who flew to the UK from Australia to attend today's hearing with Hayley's father Bobby Fullerton, has raised concerns about the care given to her baby.

Recording a narrative verdict today at the end of the inquest into Hayley's death Aidan Cotter, coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, said:

"The failures by a number of the staff at Birmingham Children's Hospital were serious but not gross."

But speaking afterwards, Ms Stevenson called the staff at the hospital "bullies, cowards and hypocrites "and said Hayley's death was "preventable and predictable."

In a statement Birmingham Children's Hospital said:

“When Hayley died, we recognised that some of her care fell below our usual high standards and for this we offer a heartfelt apology for the distress that has been caused.

“We’ve taken all the steps possible to learn from this. We’ve gone beyond the recommendations of our investigation and improved the way we do things to ensure that no children or families experience anything like this again.”