January 30, 2023

A hospital where a five-year-old died with Strep A has been ordered to launch a care review following claims from her family that she was taken to the emergency room three times before being admitted to intensive care.

Stella-Lilly McCorkindale became the ninth child to die of the infection on December 5 after admission to Royal Belfast Hospital.

Her family claims they had taken it Stella Lilly to the ER on two consecutive days before being admitted to the hospital on the third visit.

A spokesperson for the hospital told Sky News it was reviewing care provided to Stella-Lilly.

“Every aspect of the care Stella-Lilly received is carefully assessed,” said a spokesperson for the Belfast Trust.

“The death of a child is a heartbreaking event for family and friends and in such tragic circumstances we give the family room to grieve.

“Hospital management will be available to meet Stella-Lilly’s family at a time that suits them.”

The spokesperson added: “Our thoughts are with them at this incredibly sad time.”

It comes after Stella-Lilly’s father, Robert McCorkindale, told the Mirror his daughter should have been tested for the infection earlier.

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What is Strep A?

He told the paper: “I think she would have had two extra days to fight.

“They should have tested her for Strep A on Monday [28 November]by the time they said Stella had given up.

He said he first took his daughter to the ER on Nov. 28 after she started feeling unwell with a cold and fever.

Mr McCorkindale claims he was told that Stella-Lilly was suffering from a viral infection and to drink Lucozade to rehydrate.

He said he returned the next day, when doctors helped Stella-Lilly rehydrate but did not run any tests.

Mr McCorkindale said it was on their third trip to hospital, on November 30, that doctors tested his daughter and found she had Strep A.

He told the Mirror he felt her treatment up to that point was “disgraceful” but praised the doctors in intensive care who he said were “bent on their backs” to try and save his daughter.

Read more:
Strep A: Find out how many serious infections and cases of scarlet fever there are in your area
Strep A: Health Secretary insists there is a ‘good supply’ of penicillin

Mr McCorkindale also paid tribute to his daughter in a social media post, writing: “We loved every minute together on this road on our scooter or bike rides, shopping in Iceland, living next door to the (best) neighbors who have ever lived on this walked away earth.

“From every business we sat in, to every bad, bad drinking place we passed, every time I looked up when someone didn’t tell me how cute we were, you had a big smile for us.”

Strep A is usually mild and is easily treated with the antibiotic amoxicillin.

However, an invasive form of the bacteria known as iGAS has been on the rise this year, particularly in children under 10 years old.

Deaths of children contracting Strep A have been reported in Hampshire, London, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Penarth in Wales.

Diseases caused by the group A streptococcus bacteria include skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and laryngitis.

There has been a big jump in the number of cases of scarlet fever.

There were 861 cases in the week ending 27 November, according to the latest UKHSA figures, compared to an average of 186 in the same period in previous years.

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The figure was slightly lower than last week’s 901 cases, but the figure for the first 47 weeks of 2022 is already 10 times higher than the same period for 2021.

The number of cases of the more severe invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS) in England and Wales in the week ending November 27 was eight.

Symptoms of scarlet fever include a sore throat, headache, and fever, along with a fine, pink, or red rash that has a “sandpaper-like” feel.

On darker skin, the rash may be harder to see, but will still be “sandpaper-like.”

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