Girl of three dies visiting relative in hospital

Whitney Caves
Whitney Caves
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A THREE-YEAR-OLD girl collapsed and died suddenly while visiting a relative in hospital despite appearing to be her usual “bright and bubbly” self just moments before.

Whitney Caves had gone with her family to visit a cousin in hospital and one minute she was playing, pretending to be a ballerina while in a lift at the hospital, the next she suddenly fell to the floor.

She quickly received medical treatment at Pinderfields Hospital, in Wakefield, but nothing could be done to save her.

Yesterday an inquest heard that tests had shown Whitney was an apparently healthy girl with no significant injuries or conditions.

Her death has been put down to sudden unexpected death in childhood, which the hearing was told, was similar to cot death that affects infants.

Mystery still surrounds what caused Whitney’s death but the hearing was told it was possible her death was triggered by an irregular heartbeat.

Coroner David Hinchliff told Whitney’s family tests had ruled out a number of causes of death.

“It is very easy to tell you what it wasn’t, it’s not quite as easy to tell you what it was,” he said.

“There’s nothing that you could have done, there’s nothing that you have done wrong.”

It was initially feared Whitney might have suffered some kind of electric shock while in the lift the family had travelled in.

The hearing was told, however, that tests had been carried out but the checks on the lift had found no evidence of a fault.

And Marta Cohen, consultant paediatric pathologist, told the inquest she had found no evidence that Whitney had suffered an electric shock.

She gave the cause of death as sudden unexpected death in childhood, explaining it was similar to cot death. The pathologist said it was a condition more frequently seen in infants and less in children.

Yesterday’s hearing in Wakefield heard that Whitney, of Haldane Crescent, Wakefield, had no other medical conditions and the only other time she had required emergency medical treatment was for a bee sting.

“When you examined Whitney she had no illness, she was a very healthy normal little three-year-old girl?” Mr Hinchliff asked.

The pathologist agreed and said she had not found any abnormalities in Whitney’s heart but it was possible an irregular heartbeat had caused her to suddenly collapse.

Tests had also been carried out on appliances at Whitney’s home to see if she could have been suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning but the results of these too came back negative.

Whitney had appeared her usual self on the morning of her death in October last year.

She had gone to Pinderfields with her family to visit her cousin who was a patient at the hospital.

In a statement her family said Whitney: “Had a very chatty and bubbly personality.”

As she travelled in a lift she appeared happy and her usual self and had shown off her ballerina moves to her family and played around pressing the different floor buttons in the lift. But moments later she suddenly collapsed and went limp.

She was given immediate medical help – but nothing could be done to save her and she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Mr Hinchliff gave the cause of death as natural causes.

joanne.ginley@ypn.co.uk