max temp: 12°C

min temp: 11°C


Ipswich: Parents demand inquiry into why baby died from whooping cough

19:09 01 August 2012

Chelsea Thompson and Todd Haynes hold a photo of their daughter Sarae Thompson-Haynes.

Chelsea Thompson and Todd Haynes hold a photo of their daughter Sarae Thompson-Haynes.


A NASTY cough from her tiny lungs was a sign something was wrong with four-week-old Sarae Thompson-Haynes.


Whooping cough

The main symptom is a hacking cough followed by a sharp intake of air which sounds like a ‘whoop’

In rare cases it can be fatal

Children are vaccinated against the infection at two, three and four months of age

But little could her devastated parents know that just days later, she would be dead – a victim of whooping cough.

Today, speaking about their loss for the first time, mum Chelsea Thompson, 21, and dad Todd Haynes, 23, told The Star they are demanding an inquiry as they prepare to lodge formal complaints with their GP surgery in Hawthorn Drive, Harmoni, which runs the out-of-hours doctors service, and Ipswich Hospital.

Sarae died on March 21 at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), London.

Miss Thompson said: “It is rare [whooping cough] but doctors can test for it, you don’t have to end up in hospital.

“We are angry and devastated at the same time.

“It is something you don’t wish on anyone, it is very hard to come to terms with.

“Sarae was absolutely beautiful. And she was cheeky, we had a few smiles and winks in those precious weeks.

“I can’t say it would have changed the outcome for our little girl but I wish people had listened to us when we knew there was something wrong. I was a first-time mum and felt I wasn’t being taken seriously.”

Sarae was born on February 11 but by March 14 she had developed a bad cough. Concerned Miss Thompson took her to the GP to have her checked over.

Her condition got worse so later that evening Miss Thompson took her daughter to the Riverside Clinic.

Miss Thompson, of Discovery Avenue, said: “He [the doctor] gave us an inhaler and told us to put it over her mouth when she was coughing.”

By the next day Sarae’s condition had deteriorated and after calling NHS Direct, Miss Thompson took her first-born to Ipswich Hospital’s A&E department where she was given chest x-rays and a series of tests.

“Doctors at Ipswich mentioned she might have bronchitis. We felt like we always had to ask doctors what was going on. Communication was terrible.”

On March 21, Sarae was transferred from Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge to GOSH, where she died.

Two days later her parents discovered a test for whooping cough [known by the medical term pertussis], carried out at Addenbrooke’s was positive.

Miss Thompson added: “It wasn’t until she was transferred to Addenbrooke’s that a test for whooping cough was done.

“Two days after Sarae died we found out the test was positive. Doctors at GOSH sent us a letter informing us that her death certificate had been amended to add pertussis pneumonia as part of the cause of death.”

Sarae’s cause of death, as recorded on the death certificate, was noted as cardiac failure, severe sepsis as well as pertussis pneumonia.

The practice manager of Hawthorn Drive GP surgery said: “The whole team at the surgery offer their sympathies to the parents and family.

“Our duty to protect patient confidentiality means we cannot comment on individual cases but rest assured we at The Hawthorn Drive GP surgery are committed to offering the best level of care to all our patients. We would urge the family to contact us if they need our support or help at this tragic time.”

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said: “We are very saddened by baby Sarae’s death.

“The family have not been in touch with us to date and we urge them to do so as soon as possible so that we can talk about and look into all the areas of concern.”

Dr David Lee, regional medical director for Harmoni, said: “We are very sorry to hear of Sarae’s death and our sincere condolences go to her parents.

“Patient confidentiality regulations prohibit us commenting publicly on an individual case but if Sarae’s parents wish to contact us, we would be more than willing to discuss any concerns they may have with the service they received.”



Matt Bunn joined the Ipswich Round Table's annual Rudolph Run.

The festive lights have been switched on in the middle of Ipswich and – before we know it – Rudolph and Father Christmas will be spreading their magic around town.

Fears were raised over the impact the strikes would have on A&E departments.

Strike action by thousands of junior doctors has been suspended so talks can continue, the Government and the British Medical Association (BMA) have announced.

The Christmas Tree on the Cornhill in 1985,  Grimwades was on the right of the picture

As the festive cheer spreads through Ipswich, reader Janice Poulson has been looking back at how the town used to be at Christmas, and other times of the year.

Michael Leaberry

Police are appealing for help to find a missing man believed to have links to Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and north Wales.

Daniel Compton with daughter Evie

The parents of baby Evie Compton have spoken of their heartache after revealing it is unlikely she will be allowed to fly home to Ipswich for Christmas.

Don't feed the ducks this winter

People are being urged not to feed left over bread to the ducks in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park.

Ipswich Waterfront at Dusk

In a conversation published in the Guardian’s ‘Weekend’ magazine, musician Brian Eno and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis briefly discussed their experiences of the town, with their views not especially favourable.

Woman was caught drink-driving at police headquarters

A 23-year-old was caught drink-driving after parking her car at Martlesham police headquarters, a court heard.

Murrayfield Primary School.

Governors have criticised Suffolk County Council after they resigned from their school which was branded ‘inadequate’.

Mick Mills and Bobby Robson with the UEFA Cup in 1981. (Photo Dave Kindred/Archant)

A local football story jumped from the sports pages to take over the EADT’s main news spot on November 30, 1981.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24