The parents of the heartbroken nine-month-old baby felt “like hypochondriacs” before her death.
West Kirby’s Camilla Adamson and Jon-Luc Cummings said they felt like doctors were treating them as “hypochondriacs” because of their nine-month-old baby Pearl before she died
Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)
The parents felt their concerns for their nine-month-old daughter’s health were not being taken seriously and they were being treated like ‘hypochondriacs’ before her death, an inquest has found.
Camilla Adamson and Jon-Luc Cummings, from West Kirby, were worried about their baby Pearl-Nora Jacqueline Camilla’s swollen abdomen and were in regular contact with doctors at Arrowe Park Hospital before she died on March 3 last year.
Baby Pearl was born prematurely at 28 weeks in Birkenhead and suffered complications, including necrotizing enterocolitis, which required surgery, the reported Liverpool echo.
After further concerns in August 2020 about a swollen abdomen, tests revealed “nothing to worry about” and she was again transferred back to Arrowe Park and released home.
The inquest revealed that Pearl’s family felt they were being treated as “hypochondriacs” before her death.
In a statement read in court, mother Camilla – represented by Pryers Solicitors – said they were sent home and taught her to help Pearl defecate by “inserting a cotton swab into her anus”.
She said she felt “uncomfortable” about it, but was taking the doctor’s advice.
But problems with feeding and a swollen stomach continued and by October Pearl had a “golf ball-sized lump” on her stomach and her parents were told she would need surgery to fix a hernia that she suffered in this month had.
Her parents said she was starting to look like a “pregnant baby” and they were not seen in person by medical staff from November to February while Pearl was “crying in pain.”
Pearl rolled over and was “unresponsive and limp” for about 20 minutes before being rushed to the Arrowe Park emergency room on February 21 last year.
Mum Camilla said her stomach was so big it had “hard ridges” but after observations she was sent home with suspected tonsillitis.
Then, on March 3, Pearl “turned blue in her father’s arms,” the exam listened and CPR was attempted.
Karen Martin, a pediatrician, said when Pearl arrived at Arrowe Park on February 21, her observations were “normal” and she appeared “fine”.
The hospital thought Pearl had early signs of infection, but there were “no features of concern” and she was “reassured” by her presentation at the time.
The court was told that Pearl’s observations were “completely normal” and that she had a “really soft,” albeit distended, abdomen, but children with a small intestine typically presented as very “sick.”
Discussing the root cause analysis, the inquiry noted that it was a “difficult matter to diagnose in connection with Pearl’s presentation that day” and that the notes had been “thoroughly scrutinized”.
On this day in February, Elizabeth Thompson added that given Pearl’s symptoms, an internal hernia “wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind.”
She said that if Pearl had stayed in the hospital, there was nothing to indicate she would have been picked up.
Also significant was pathologist Brian Rodgers, who gave an initial cause of death as transmesenteric internal hernia of the small intestine caused by surgery induced by preterm birth. He essentially said the small intestine slipped through a “quite large hole” measuring two inches and twisted, which can be fatal if not seen and treated.
He suspected it was due to a complication of the previous surgery, saying “death is inevitable” if left untreated, but it’s a “difficult diagnosis” as it depends on the patient’s symptoms.
Discussing her time at Alder Hey, Sarah Woods, consultant pediatrician, said the need for further testing was a “judgment,” as if Pearl had continued vomiting, she “would have pulled through,” but in this case the baby had “changed dramatically improved”.
When asked why there wasn’t any further investigation at this point, Ms Woods said they’ve managed to move forward with their feedings and having a belly that’s “bouncing” is reassuring. The hearing heard that there was no way to tell how long the problem had been there.
The area’s coroner, Ms Anita Bhardwaj, said it was “unclear when the internal hernia developed” and whether the defect was present from birth. She added it was “highly likely” that the defect occurred after the August 2020 surgery, so it was “caused by this surgery.”
She went on to say that it likely “started small and then progressed with bowel movements” and that the hernia itself “couldn’t be aged.”
Ms Bhardwaj, who described Pearl as a “beautiful girl”, told the court that even if Arrowe Park Hospital had sought specialist medical advice on February 21, it would still have resulted in a decision to discharge baby Pearl at a presentation.
She said the bowel injury probably occurred on March 3 and was absent on February 21.
She added: “I feel that the care and treatment given to baby Pearl at Alder Hey Hospital and Arrowe Park has been consistently appropriate and appropriate and it was never suggested that there was an internal hernia.
“For this reason, I believe this was an unintended complication of a necessary medical procedure and conclude that baby Pearl died as a result of an accident.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/heartbroken-parents-nine-month-old-27305825 The parents of the heartbroken nine-month-old baby felt "like hypochondriacs" before her death.