Mum launches legal action against hospital after tot’s death

Leanne Harrold's 2-yr-old duaghter, Brooklyn, died after being misdiagnosed by Northampton General Hospital.
Leanne Harrold's 2-yr-old duaghter, Brooklyn, died after being misdiagnosed by Northampton General Hospital.

An investigation has been launched into the circumstances of a two-year-old’s death after she was discharged from Northampton General Hospital less than 24 hours before dying of septicemia.

Toddler Brooklyn Harrold, of Kings Heath, Northampton, was taken to hospital on May 9 suffering from a high temperature and she was kept in Paddington Ward overnight.

Brooklyn’s mother, Leanne, aged 20, said staff told her they suspected her daughter had gastroenteritis.

On Friday at about 9pm, Brooklyn was discharged from hospital and, at this point, her mother said no full blood test had been carried out.

Ms Harrold said: “At the time they told me I was a paranoid mother, but I feared for my daughter’s health.

“When she was discharged the high temperature had still not gone away. When I woke her up in the morning she was as yellow as a banana.”

Ms Harrold said she took her daughter to her grandparents’ house and then an ambulance was called to take Brooklyn back to Northampton General Hospital.

A full blood test was then carried out on the toddler and, due to concerns about an existing heart condition, preparations were made to transfer her to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

In order to get a ventilation tube into Brooklyn, doctors said they had to put her in an induced coma, but sadly, minutes after they sedated her, she died.

Ms Harrold said she was now taking legal action against the hospital as she felt the standard of treatment Brooklyn received was “unacceptable”.

She said: “I’m disgusted at the treatment Brooklyn received. I think it could have been better.

“She fought for two years to stay alive. Her sister is distraught and keeps asking when she is going to see Brooklyn. I have taken her to Brooklyn’s grave, but I can’t explain what has happened to a four-year-old.”

The results from the blood test carried out by the hospital on the Saturday, later revealed Brooklyn was suffering from septicemia and this has been put on her death certificate.

Michael Diggin, Brooklyn’s great-grandfather, said he believed she had been treated differently by staff due to her history of heart problems.

Mr Diggin said his great-granddaughter was born with a hole in her heart and needed an operation to install a tube which connected the organ to her lungs.

He said: “It was probably 50/50 that she may die of septicemia, but if you catch it earlier you enhance the chances of survival. I believe they lost a 36-hour window to treat her with antibiotics.”

A spokesman for Northampton General Hospital (NGH) said a full investigation had been launched into the circumstances surrounding Brooklyn’s death.

He said: “We offer our sincere condolences to Brooklyn’s family for their tragic loss. We will be discussing the results of that investigation with the family when it is complete. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

A spokesman for the Northamptonshire County Coroner said no inquest was due to be held into Brooklyn’s death.

The death of Brooklyn Harrold is the second tragedy to affect Michael Diggin, pictured above, in 18 months as his 87-year-old mother-in-law died on January 3 last year. Phyllis Asten, aged 87, was letting her dog out in the garden of her bungalow in Spencer, Northampton, when she fell over and broke a hip.

It took an hour-and-a-half for the ambulance to arrive at the address and another 40 minutes to get to hospital.

An hour later, Mrs Asten’s condition deteriorated and she had a heart attack and passed away that evening.

A report into her death, carried out by Northampton General Hospital, concluded that she suffered a tear in the main vessel to the heart which lead to a cardiac arrest and her death “could not have been avoided” as the only treatment for this condition was surgery and no surgeon would have operated due to the almost certain risk of death.