Inquest for baby who died day after being discharged by locum doctor

16 September 2014

The inquest into the death of a baby with breathing difficulties who died the day after being sent home from hospital by a locum doctor reopens on 16 September at Milton Keynes Coroners Court.

One-month-old Isla MacIsaac was found in an unresponsive state at her home in Pottersbury, Milton Keynes the morning after she had been taken to Milton Keynes Hospital with breathing difficulties. 

Isla was seen by a locum doctor who diagnosed bronchiolitis and discharged her without conducting any tests on her oxygen levels or lung function. 

Isla’s mother Stephanie Fitzgerald, 22, is being supported through the inquest process by Sophie Fox, a specialist solicitor at law firm JMW. Ms Fox is also investigating the care provided to Isla leading up to her death. 

Ms Fox commented: “Isla’s death was extremely tragic and has had a devastating impact on her family. It is vital that they understand how and why it happened so they can begin to pick up the pieces of their lives. I will be investigating the circumstances of Isla’s death closely to find some of the answers her family are seeking so they can try to come to terms with their loss.” 

Isla had a history of breathing problems since her birth on 21 March 2014 and when she was a week old her parents had been so concerned that they called an ambulance. Her breathing recovered but she was taken to hospital none-the-less where she was seen by paediatricians. Tests were carried out and Isla was allowed to go home a short time later. 

On 15th April 2014 Isla was taken to see a GP at Stoney Medical Centre in Milton Keynes and was diagnosed as having a cold. The GP recommended she be given Calpol and saline drops and for her to be placed in the bathroom with bath running to clear her airways. The GP said she should be brought back in a week’s time if she was no better. 

Isla’s condition did not improve so on Easter Sunday (20th April) her parents called the NHS non-emergency line for help. They were advised to take Isla to the local urgent care walk in centre, which was at Eaglestone. The doctor who examined her that morning repeated the advice regarding the saline drops and told her parents to see how she was over the next 24-48 hours and go back to see the GP on Tuesday.

When the GP saw Isla on the Tuesday (22 April) he was very concerned about her breathing and referred her straight to hospital with a letter to take asking doctors to carry out tests and x-rays to make sure she was getting enough oxygen.  

Isla was taken to hospital where she was seen by a locum doctor at 1.45pm. The locum diagnosed bronchiolitis and sent her home with instructions to her parents to continue giving her saline drops. The locum did not carry out any tests on her oxygen levels or order x-rays and Isla was discharged at 3.05pm.

The following morning at about 8am Isla was found in an unresponsive state. Her parents called 999 and the call handler talked them through CPR while they awaited the ambulance which arrived 30 minutes later. The ambulance crew took over resuscitation attempts however they did not have the right sized equipment to resuscitate a baby so a smaller tube was obtained by the air ambulance when this arrived a short time later. 

Isla was taken to Milton Keynes Hospital by blue light but attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead in hospital at approximately 9.11am. 

Isla’s family have requested that the media respect their privacy at this difficult time and that any enquiries are directed to their legal team at JMW on the details below.  


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Hindle on the details below:

Kelly Hindle

D. 0161 828 1868


Note to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones.

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