Two-year-old died at home two days after being discharged from hospital with antibiotics

A toddler died two days after she was discharged from a hospital with antibiotics, an inquest has heard. Wyatt Rose Wheeler, two, was found dead on November 6, 2020, at her family home di lei in Duffryn, Newport.

An inquest into her death on Tuesday heard Wyatt’s parents Sean and Laura Wheeler “initially thought that Wyatt was suffering with what [they] thought was a cold, “and gave her Calpol for three days. However their concerns increased when her breathing became labored with Wyatt’s mum describing her little girl as” staring into space “and appearing to” suck in her ribs “.

They first phoned their GP but after they were told that they may not be seen until the afternoon her parents rang 999 instead. In evidence read out to the inquest paramedic Robert Huish, who attended Mr and Mrs Wheeler’s address on November 4, 2020, said that Wyatt appeared “very pale in color” and had a runny nose. He described her upper and lower lips as being swollen in appearance.

“I personally had not seen an unwell child like Wyatt for a very long time,” Mr Huish’s statement read. He described Wyatt as “pale, lethargic but conscious” and said that she was able to speak “but quietly” and indicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with her head di lei.

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Wyatt Rose Wheeler died suddenly in November 2020

However while paramedics were visiting the home a next-door neighbor came in to ask Mr Huish if his team could attend to her husband who had fallen in the house and an emergency team went next door then returned to say the neighbor’s husband was suffering from a cardiac arrested. Mr Wheeler then decided to take Wyatt to the Royal Gwent Hospital in the family car with Mr Huish following behind in an emergency vehicle. They arrived at the hospital at 12.47pm.

The inquest heard from Dr Owain Davies, a registrar who was working at the Royal Gwent Hospital at the time and assessed Wyatt upon her arrival. He said in a statement that he “couldn’t hear any wheezes or crackles”.

“I could see swelling on both tonsils[…] My diagnosis was that of acute tonsillitis, “Dr Davies’ statement read. He told the inquest that he prescribed Wyatt a course of penicillin and discharged her to her home.

“At this time there was no suggestion of respiratory disease,” Dr Davies said in a statement he read aloud to the inquest. He continued: “When I assessed Wyatt I conducted a thorough respiratory examination.”

Wyatt Wheeler pictured with her family
Wyatt Wheeler pictured with her family

The inquest heard from Dr Davies that Wyatt’s respiratory rates were “normal” and that she wasn’t receiving any oxygen treatment when she was assessed. “I didn’t have any doubt that there was any serious underlying illness and for that reason I decided I would discharge Wyatt to her home with prescribed antibiotics,” Dr Davies told the inquest.

Mr Wheeler told the hearing: “We were told throughout that everything was normal. Everything seemed to be fine was the response that we kept getting.” However he said he noticed Wyatt was “breathing shallowly” and “in and out of sleep”. Two days later Wyatt was found dead. A medical cause of death was given by Dr Andrew Bamber, who conducted the post-mortem examination, as viral bronchiolitis.

As painful as these proceedings are for those who have lost a loved one the lessons that can be learned from inquests can go a long way to saving others’ lives.

The press has a legal right to attend inquests and has a responsibility to report on them as part of their duty to uphold the principle of open justice.

It’s a journalist’s duty to make sure the public understands the reasons why someone has died and to make sure their deaths are not kept secret. An inquest report can also clear up any rumors or suspicion surrounding a person’s death.

But, most importantly of all, an inquest report can draw attention to circumstances which may stop further deaths from happening.

Should journalists shy away from attending inquests then an entire arm of the judicial system is not held to account.

Inquests can often prompt a wider discussion on serious issues, the most recent of these being mental health and suicide.

Editors actively ask and encourage reporters to speak to the family and friends of a person who is the subject of an inquest. Their contributions help us create a clearer picture of the person who died and also provides the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.

Often families do not wish to speak to the press and of course that decision has to be respected. However, as has been seen by many powerful media campaigns, the input of a person’s family and friends can make all the difference in helping to save others.

Without the attendance of the press at inquests questions will remain unanswered and lives will be lost.

Caroline Saunders, senior coroner for Gwent, recorded a conclusion of death from natural causes and said as she summed up the evidence: “Wyatt was a two-year-old girl and had a history of respiratory problems in keeping with a child of her age . “

She added that Wyatt had been “reportedly snuffly on November 5, 2020, at bedtime and that she was found unresponsive by her parents who started resuscitation and called paramedics. Wyatt Rose Wheeler died at her home address on November 6, 2020, from the effects of viral bronchiolitis. The conclusion will be recorded as a death from natural causes. “


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