-One-year-old Hayley was 'overlooked and neglected'
-Doctors were 'arrogant and unprofessional'
-Parents were repeatedly told there was 'nothing to worry about'

By Andy Dolan

A mother driven to despair as her baby daughter lay dying in hospital bribed a nurse with a £100 gift voucher in the hope of improving her care.

Hayley Fullerton died of heart failure within a month of her first birthday after doctors ignored Paula Stevenson’s pleas to transfer the little girl to an intensive care unit.

In the weeks leading up to Hayley’s death, Miss Stevenson became so concerned about the ‘brutal’ care her daughter was receiving that she tried to bribe one nurse to stop her daughter being ‘overlooked and neglected’.

Yesterday, the 40-year-old told an inquest: ‘I was out of my mind with worry and was so upset. The doctors were arrogant and unprofessional.

‘I tried to express my concern to the nurses, I even bought a £100 gift voucher in an attempt to bribe one of them.

‘I hoped the other nurses would hear about it and look after Hayley in the hope they would get one too. But nothing worked.’

Hayley had been diagnosed with a hole in the heart before she was born, and was admitted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for corrective surgery when she was ten months old.

Miss Stevenson said that while the operation was a success, complications arose during Hayley’s recovery after doctors inserted the wrong size tube into her lung, causing it to collapse.

The inquest heard Hayley’s parents became increasingly concerned that their only child was struggling to breathe and looked ‘puffy’ – but were repeatedly told by medics that there was nothing to worry about.

When her lung collapsed for a second time, Hayley was put in an isolation ward, despite Miss Stevenson and husband Bobby Fullerton begging doctors to transfer her to intensive care.

The couple and Hayley’s grandparents, Sylvia and Edward Stevenson, kept a vigil at her bedside, but Hayley died in November 2009 – four weeks after the corrective surgery.

Hayley Fullerton was born with a hole in her heart, and had to undergo surgery aged 10-months-old to correct it

It was during the recovery from the surgery when complications arose, ultimately leading to her tragic death

A report by the hospital concluded that there had been failings in the little girl’s care and said Hayley may have survived if there had not been.

Miss Stevenson, who kept her maiden name after marrying Mr Fullerton, said that the more she complained about her daughter’s treatment, the worse it seemed to become.

She added: ‘All Hayley did was sleep. What was happening to her was destroying me.

‘Hayley’s experience at Birmingham Children’s Hospital can only be described as brutal.’

Miss Stevenson and Mr Fullerton live in Australia, but Hayley was born in Northern Ireland, where Miss Stevenson grew up, so that her family could be around her. The couple took her to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for surgery because it is a major centre of paediatric cardiac care.

The inquest continues.

Paula Stevenson told an inquest her one-year-old daughter was overlooked and neglected at the hospital

Hayley Fullerton with her grandparents, Edward and Sylvia Stevenson, both helped keep a bedside vigil for the four weeks Hayley spent in hospital before her death

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