'We'll keep fighting for Sophia': Heartbroken parents desperate for answers

Theresa and Matthew Smith say they deserve to know how their baby daughter caught MRSA after being told by a clinician it was just 'bad luck'.

The parents of a baby girl who died at just 11 days old say they will “fight until their last breath” for answers.

Sophia Smith died at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in April 2017, after contracting a toxic strain of a staph infection.

Seven years on, Matthew and Theresa Smith from Inverclyde have been granted a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the circumstances surrounding the death of their newborn daughter.

Sophia’s mother said: “There’s no greater pain than to bury a child. But we’ve had to do that and get up every day not knowing why, how…and to fight and fight to get those answers.

“To be denied the truth…it’s cruel. It’s really cruel.”

Sophia had difficulties breathing at birth and had been transferred to the Queen Elizabeth’s neonatal intensive care unit from Paisley.

Sophia’s parents say they will ‘fight until their last breath’

Her health was improving, and the family was told she would be home within a few days.

But her condition suddenly deteriorated, and Sophia died in her mother’s arms.

“I remember at the time I kind of looked at the doctor as if to say, ‘is this a sick joke? Because, yesterday we were chatting about how we were going to take her home, and today you’re telling me, that it’s too late to save her?’

“It was shocking how it had been allowed to get to that horrific, undignified death that our wee baby had to suffer, without intervention.”

To this day, Matthew and Theresa say they still don’t know how this happened, and claim they’ve been denied answers at every turn.

“I asked why Sophia had turned black from the waist down… when I came back into the room, they had just put a blanket over Sophia’s legs, and I said, ‘why the blanket?’ and it was like, ‘just don’t look at it’.

“All we can hope for now, is to start bringing those stonewalls down. I don’t want any other family to go through the hell that we’ve been through.”

Sophia’s father added: “We’re grateful that the Lord Advocate has granted us this FAI, it’s a small step in uncovering the truth, which we as a family deserve.”

Theresa said: “We’ve long since realised there’s no end to our grief, but we’ll keep fighting for Sophia, because she deserves that. She deserved her wee life.”

In a statement, the health board has extended condolences to Sophia’s family.

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We would once again extend our deepest condolences to the family of Sophia.

Sophia died after contracting a toxic strain of a streph infection in hospital.

“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will co-operate fully with the Fatal Accident Inquiry and will implement any findings.”

The hospital has faced various allegations over safety concerns since it opened in 2015, and the decision for an FAI follows a thorough and independent investigation by the Procurator Fiscal.

The Crown Counsel have concluded, based on the available evidence, that there will be no criminal proceedings brought as a result of the death.

However, should additional evidence come to light that decision may be reconsidered.

Procurator fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on fatalities investigations for COPFS, said: “The Lord Advocate has decided that a discretionary FAI should be held into the causes of this tragic death to ensure that there can be a full public hearing of the facts of the case.

“The Procurator Fiscal has now started work to initiate this inquiry and there are a number of legal steps which must be taken before it can commence.

“Sophia’s family will be kept informed of what will happen next.”

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