Maya Siek: multiple failures in hospital care of six-year-old with sepsis

Maya Siek was just six years old when she died on Rainbow Ward at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital (QEQMH) in Margate on 21st December 2022. 

Maya’s mother brought her to the A&E department on 19th December 2022, but they were sent home with a diagnosis of tonsillitis and oral antibiotics. Maya worsened overnight and so they returned the next day. She was quickly diagnosed with sepsis / septic shock and transferred to Rainbow Ward.

Following a four-day Article 2-compliant inquest into Maya’s death, the coroner found multiple failures in her care and treatment, from start to finish. These included, but were not limited to:

  • Failure to keep Maya in hospital on 19th December 2022 and consider initiating Sepsis 6 treatment;
  • Failure to communicate Maya’s diagnosis of sepsis to all members of the treating team;
  • Failure to recognise the significance of her persistent tachycardia and the absence of a response to IV fluids;
  • Failure to take Maya’s blood gas on the morning of 21st December 2022; and
  • Failure to adequately monitor her vital signs during admission to Rainbow Ward.

The Coroner found that the combination of these failures led to a failure to contact the South Thames Retrieval Service about Maya’s condition around 2:00am on 21st December 2022, approximately 13 hours before she went into cardiac arrest. Similarly, if Maya had been admitted on 19th December 2022, this may have led to a chance for Sepsis 6 treatment to be started 18 hours earlier than it was.  

Whilst the Coroner was unable to say whether any of these failures caused or contributed to the Maya’s death, she was limited by the evidence available at the inquest.  The coroner did not hear evidence from a paediatric cardiologist or a paediatric intensive care expert.

The inquest has been very widely reported: BBC, The Guardian, The Times, Daily Mail, Metro, Evening Standard, Kent Online

Matthew Turner represented Maya’s family at the inquest, alongside Frankie Rhodes and Ollie Gyani of Leigh Day. 

The Coroner was HM Assistant Coroner for North East Kent, Ms Catherine Wood. The other Interested Person was East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

Matthew is a specialist in hospital deaths and deaths in custody. He has secured nine neglect verdicts in different inquests since December 2021.