A HEARTBROKEN dad took his five-year-old girl to A&E three times before she became critically ill and later died of Strep A.
Stella-Lily McCorkindale fell severely ill last week and was treated in hospital before she tragically passed away on Monday.
She attended Black Mountain Primary School in Belfast.
Her dad, Robert McCorkindale, says his daughter started feeling ill on the weekend of November 26 with a cold and temperature.
Discussing what led up to her passing, he believes little Stella-Lily had an extra two days of fighting before her death.
Mr McCorkindale told The Mirror: "They should have tested her for Strep A on the Monday [November 28], by the time they induced her Stella had given up.
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"The doctor looked at me and said what was wrong and I said she is very sick.
"She then asked why did you bring her [Stella-Lily] here and I was like 'my daughter can't even walk' and I told them everything."
Mr McCorkindale says he was made to feel like an "overbearing father" and his daughter was given Lucozade to replenish her electrolytes before they travelled home.
She was taken to hospital by her mum the next day, where she was helped with her hydration but allowed to return home.
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But by November 30, little Stella-Lily's condition had severely deteriorated and she was again rushed to hospital.
Doctors ordered tests, fearing the youngster had sepsis, and results came back for Strep A.
The devastated dad said once his daughter was admitted, caring staff went "above and beyond" to help her.
The infection has spread around the girl's body and doctors were considering the amputation of her limbs.
And by Monday, Stella-Lily was too unwell from the infection and her life-support was turned off.
Mr McCorkindale added: "I know their job [hospital staff] is hard, I know I can't do that job, but if you can't give the same care to the first child you see compared to the 99th child you shouldn't be in that job."
A spokesman for Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children said: "We send our deepest condolences to the McCorkindale family following the passing of Stella-Lily.
"Every aspect of the care Stella-Lily received is being carefully reviewed. The death of a child is a heart-breaking event for family and friends and in such tragic circumstances we give the family space to grieve.
"Hospital management will be available to meet Stella-Lily's family at a time that suits them. Our thoughts are with them at this incredibly sad time."
The West Belfast primary school Stella-Lily attended said her death was a “tragic loss to our school community”.
A post read: "Sadly, the governors, staff and students of Black Mountain Primary School have been informed of the untimely passing of one of our P2 pupils, Stella-Lily McCorkindale.
“This is a tragic loss to the Black Mountain Primary School family and our school community, and the thoughts of the entire school are with the Stella-Lily’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.
“Stella-Lily was a very bright and talented little girl and very popular with both staff and children and will be greatly missed by everyone at school.
“To assist in supporting our pupils and staff at this sad time, additional trained staff from the Education Authority Critical Incident Response Team have been engaged and will be providing support to the school.”
INTO Northern Secretary Gerry Murphy sent his condolences to Stella-Lily’s parents and family, and to the pupils, staff and wider school community of Black Mountain.
Mr Murphy said: “It is vitally important that all schools are immediately provided with the pertinent advice from the PHA and the employing authorities in identifying the symptoms and the appropriate actions that need to be taken to protect pupils, staff and school communities to prevent further tragedies related to this current outbreak.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family.
Parents of the youngest pupils at the school received a letter from the Public Health Agency on Friday to tell them a pupil had been diagnosed with a severe form of Strep A.
Her death takes the number of children known to have died from the illness – which usually only causes a mild sore throat and temperature but can be life-threatening – to nine.
These include Muhammed Ibrahim Ali, four, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and seven-year-old Hanna Roap, from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan.
Lockdowns during the pandemic, when kids were trapped indoors, are being blamed for the outbreak.
As cases of scarlet fever and Strep A sweep across the UK, several primary schools have made the decision to close.
St Vincent's Voluntary Catholic Academy in Hull shut for a "deep clean" on Friday after a small number of children came down with a bug.
Parents at the school gates on Monday were in agreement that it was the right precaution to take.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the last time there was an intensive period of Strep A infection was in 2017-18 when four deaths were recorded in England in the equivalent time frame.
He said any parents who are concerned should contact the NHS.
The Sun's Dr Jeff Foster said Strep A is one of the most common bugs doctors see in kids every year, but that it is currently surging.
He said: “It is commonly found in children under ten and is spread by droplets and close contact — through spit, sneezing, coughing and touching infected surfaces. It’s the same way you would get a common cold.
“You can get mild cases where children have a temperature and a sore throat. If it becomes scarlet fever they would get a rash, which looks like sandpaper, around four or five days after the temperature starts, and red flushing cheeks.
"This year’s is not a new variant. It’s the post-Covid effect as kids were not exposed to bugs for two years."
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Scarlet fever is caused by bacteria called group A streptococci. These bacteria also cause other respiratory and skin infections such as Strep throat and impetigo.
Dr Colin Brown, deputy director of the UKHSA, added: "It is important parents are on the lookout for symptoms — and see a doctor as quickly as possible so we can stop the infection becoming serious."
HIGH ALERT: Symptoms of invasive Strep A
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) – is also known as Streptococcus pyogenes – and is a bacteria that can cause mild illnesses like sore throats and skin infections, including tonsillitis cellulitis, impetigo and scarlet fever.
In rare cases, the bacteria can trigger the life-threatening illness, invasive group A Strep disease.
Guidance from the NHS states that there are four key signs of invasive disease:
- fever (a high temperature above 38°C (100.4°F)
- severe muscle aches
- localised muscle tenderness
- redness at the site of a wound
Invasive disease happens when the bacteria break through the body's immune defences.
It can happen if you're already ill or have a weakened immune system.
Two of the most severe examples of invasive disease are necrotising fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome.
You're at increased risk of Group Strep A invasive disease if you:
- are in close contact with someone who has the disease
- are over the age of 65
- are diabetic, have heart disease or cancer
- have recently had chickenpox
- have HIV
- use some steroids or intravenous drugs, according to the NHS.
Group Strep A bacteria can also cause scarlet fever, which can be serious if it's not treated with antibiotics.
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