Parents' heartbreak at death of tragic tot Ellie

BUBBLY Ellie Parsons should today have been looking forward to her first birthday and Christmas at home in Ipswich.

Tom Potter

JUST a week before her first birthday, little Ellie Parsons was pictured laughing happily in her mum's arms.

Kirsty Ludlow put her daughter to bed without any signs of ill health, but just ten hours later the bubbly 11-month-old would be dead.

Today, as Ipswich Hospital launches an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, her parents claimed more could have been done to save her and told of their determination to find out just how Ellie died.

When Ellie woke on Sunday night crying and shivering, Ms Ludlow phoned the doctor, explaining that she suspected her baby was showing symptoms of meningitis.

She was told to take Ellie to hospital if her condition worsened - but half-an-hour later she was unconscious.

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Ms Ludlow, 29, said: “We arrived at A&E just before midnight and were there until 3.30am. In that time a nurse took Ellie's temperature, which she said was very high.

“She was left for a considerable amount of time before a doctor looked at her and noticed spots on her body. We were told that her blotched skin was the result of a water infection and that further tests didn't need to be done.”

Ms Ludlow and her partner Daren Parsons, of Felixstowe Road, were advised to take Ellie home but to return to the hospital if there were any problems.

“At 6am we noticed she had started to deteriorate,” said Ms Ludlow. “On the way back to the hospital we thought we had lost her.

“When we got there she was unconscious. A receptionist opened the door to the ward but there was no one there - not even a cleaner. We were stuck between to sets of locked double doors for five minutes before three nurses strolled in and took her from us.”

Attempts to resuscitate Ellie started at 7.30am but she was pronounced dead an hour later.

A post-mortem will ultimately determine what caused Ellie's death, but her parents are sure it was meningitis and that doctors could have done more to save her.

Ms Ludlow has vowed to mount a legal challenge against the hospital for the sake of her only child.

“We're angry she was sent home after we said she had signs of meningitis,” she said. “That was a critical period and there was no one on the ward when we went back.

“I must stress that the resuscitation team were fantastic and did all they could but my concern is that Ellie wasn't diagnosed properly. I don't understand the lack of urgency.”

The weekend before she died, Ellie had been in contact with a four-month-old baby, who has since been taken in for observation.

Ipswich Hospital said an investigation had been launched into the tragedy.

Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said: “This is a tragic happening, especially at this time of year at Christmas.

“We would like to extend our condolences to the family.

“The moment this tragedy happened an investigation was launched.

“Enormous care will be taken and it will include the parents and family at every step.”

The tragic circumstances of Ellie Parsons' death as they unfolded:


- 8pm: Kirsty Ludlow puts baby Ellie to bed at their Felixstowe Road home. The 11-month-old shows no signs of ill health

- 10.45pm: Ellie wakes crying and shivering. A concerned Ms Ludlow takes Ellie to bed with her but the shivering continues and her temperature begins to soar

- 11.20pm: Ms Ludlow makes first contact with a doctor, explaining Ellie's symptoms. She is told if her condition worsens to phone back or take her to hospital

-11.50pm: As Ellie's body becomes lifeless, Ms Ludlow and partner Daren Parsons rush to Heath Road. Five minutes after they arrive, Ellie's temperature and pulse is taken by nurses. Ms Ludlow says Ellie is then left for a considerable amount of time before she is seen by a doctor


- 3.30am: A nurse tells Ms Ludlow and Mr Parsons that a water infection is to blame for blotches on Ellie's skin and that she is well enough to go home. The couple are told further tests are not necessary

- 6am: Ellie's condition begins to worsen. She develops severe breathing difficulties and is rushed back to hospital. On the way she falls into unconsciousness and her parents begin to fear the worst.

- 7.30am: A resuscitation team try to revive Ellie but after around an hour she is pronounced dead