THE devastated parents of a baby girl who died in hospital after three potentially lifesaving operations were cancelled have said they will never forgive staff who cared for her in the hours before her death.

Little Iris Day was just six months old when she died at Colchester General Hospital.

She was born with Down’s Syndrome and an atrio-ventricular septal defect.

But after a series of cancellations - including one due to a lack of beds at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital - vital corrective surgery came too late.

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In December 2016, Iris’ parents, Ben and Hannah, took her to A&E at Colchester General Hospital as she was having difficulty breathing.

The couple stayed with her overnight and that morning were reassured she had stabilised.

But an inquest heard staff failed to recognise Iris’ deterioration or carry out a blood gas test which could have helped establish her worsening health.

Iris was also given out of date sedatives while a doctor failed to insert a cannula to allow fluids to be administered.

Iris’ mother Hannah said: “We went home completely falsely reassured that Iris was okay and we would be contacted should anything change.

“We received a call from Colchester Hospital informing us we needed to return as Iris had deteriorated.

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“When I got to the hospital Iris’ bed was surrounded by medical staff and they were still performing CPR. It was evident that Iris was lifeless.

“We were obviously completely inconsolable.”

Mrs Day was allowed to dress Iris and cut off a lock of her hair before saying her final goodbyes.

She added: “Iris to them was just another patient. She was absolutely our whole world.

“To know she was let down, that we were wrongly reassured, that because of that I wasn’t able to be with my baby when she passed away or console her when she was inconsolable, to know that in these final moments she would have been uncomfortable, she would have been sad and she would have not had her mummy and daddy with her - that’s something I will never forgive them for – for taking that away from us.”

Dad Ben added: “The majority of NHS staff who came into contact with Iris in her short life let her down in the worst possible way.

“My advice to any parent with an ill child is to be that annoying squeaky wheel – the only true carer and advocate of that child is the parent.”

The pair may still take legal action against the hospital.

Assistant coroner Dr Jolanta McKenzie recorded a narrative conclusion at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court and said there had been “failings in care” by staff at Colchester Hospital.

Failings were addressed after Iris' death 

AN investigation into the death of Iris Day highlighted a “series of deficiencies” in aspects of her care at Colchester General Hospital.

Dr Kalyann Devarajan, deputy clinical lead for children services at the hospital, said steps had been taken following the six-month-old’s death to prevent similar cases.

He added attempts should have been made to contact Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where staff had specialist knowledge of Iris’s condition.

He said: “We don’t know if it would have made a difference but at least we would follow their plans.

“If they had said: ‘You have to transfer this child,’ then we would have initiated those steps earlier in the day.”

The report also flagged up failures by junior doctors and nurses to call in a consultant to help treat Iris when her condition worsened.

He said her deteriorating vital signs “should have been appreciated before” and added: “The real question is should we have escalated this to a more senior team which I think we should have.”

Dr Yemi Adenekan told the inquest he tried and failed three times to fit a cannula.

Dr Devarajan added: “It is clear in this case that we should have [escalated her care to a consultant] that rather a middle grade doctor or registrar dealing with these sick patients.”

Dr Andrea Turner, clinical lead for children’s services at Colchester General Hospital, said: “We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the family of Iris Day following her death in December last year.

“The trust carried out a detailed investigation into the circumstances leading up to Iris’s death and has made a number of changes.”

They include improvements to the way children whose condition is deteriorating are treated.

There is also better communication with specialist hospitals