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Mother to sue NHS over baby's death
The mother of a baby girl who died after serious failures by hospital staff is to sue the NHS over her daughter's "preventable and predictable" death.
Paula Stevenson, whose 13-month-old daughter Hayley Fullerton died after undergoing open heart surgery in 2009, also called for a change of culture within the NHS to prevent future tragedies.
Ms Stevenson, 40, issued her call for US-style "rapid response teams" to be introduced to British hospitals after a coroner said Hayley would have had a better chance of survival if she had been admitted to intensive care.
Hayley, who underwent surgery to repair a heart condition in October 2009, died at Birmingham Children's Hospital a month later after being transferred from a paediatric intensive care unit to a general ward.
Her mother flew to the UK from Australia to attend Wednesday's hearing before the Birmingham and Solihull Coroner. Speaking afterwards, Ms Stevenson said the hospital represented "bullies, cowards and hypocrites" and said she believed Hayley's death could have been avoided.
Ms Stevenson said: "Today is Hayley's day - I have been waiting three years to speak up. Hayley died like an abandoned animal - nobody listened to me while Hayley was dying and nobody listened to me when Hayley was dead."
Clutching a framed photograph of Hayley, Ms Stevenson added: "Our entire family has been completely devastated by what happened and to this day we continue to grieve. I still cannot understand how trained medics could ignore the fact that she was slowly deteriorating before their eyes. They had seven days to spot that something was seriously wrong but all those precious opportunities were missed.
"My parents and I never left Hayley's bedside during the entire time she was in hospital and it was obvious to us, despite our lack of medical training, that she was a very sick little girl who needed help."
Ms Stevenson previously told the inquest she believed her daughter, who was born in Northern Ireland on October 6 2008 with a heart defect, could have lived if staff at Birmingham Children's Hospital had listened to her concerns.
She has instructed lawyers to proceed with civil action against the trust which runs the hospital.