Infectious disease likely killed Abbotsford toddler: Fraser Health review

Three-year-old Nimrat Gill died at Abbotsford Regional Hospital in February after being sent home the previous morning.

Three-year-old Nimrat Gill died in Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Feb. 7.

Three-year-old Nimrat Gill died in Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Feb. 7.

Nimrat Gill, the three-year-old girl who died in Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) in early February, was killed by an aggressive infectious disease, according to preliminary laboratory tests.

Having completed a review of the case, Fraser Health says it is undertaking six actions to more quickly detect such infections in the future.

While the BC Coroners Service will formally declare a cause of death, Fraser Health says lab results suggest invasive group A streptococcal disease led to the young girl’s death.

Nimrat had originally been brought to ARH around 2 a.m. on Feb. 6. Her parents were told to give her Tylenol and she was sent home. On Feb. 7, with Nimrat’s symptoms worsening, her parents brought her back to hospital. Over the next five hours, her condition deteriorated and she died. Nimrat’s parents have said more should have been done for their daughter upon their first visit.

Group A streptococcal disease causes many common mild illnesses, but the invasive form Nimrat had was much rarer and deadlier, Fraser Health chief medical officer Dr. Victoria Lee said Tuesday. She said the invasive form of the disease can result in mortality rates around 15 per cent among all cases, and as high as 70 per cent when severe symptoms like those afflicting Nimrat begin to show.

It is exceptionally rare, Lee said, particularly for children under four, with no other confirmed cases detected in the Fraser Health region in the past year.

Fraser Health CEO Michael Marchbank said the review of the death has led to the implementation of six “leading-edge” actions.

They include sepsis screening for all pediatric patients, whether or not symptoms are present, implementation across all emergency rooms of a pediatric early warning signs (PEWS) tool being trialed in Richmond, and three other actions related to further education and training for staff.

The recommendations have already been shared with Nimrat’s parents, who were not available for comment at press time.

“Nothing we can do is going to bring Nimrat back,” Marchbank said. “the purpose of the actions … is to improve the care we give our patients.

Watch for more details.