Three-year-old who died in Abbotsford hospital had bacterial infection, lab results indicate

Nimrat Gill, who died at Abbotsford Regional Hospital in February, had an “invasive” bacterial infection according to laboratory test results, says the Fraser Health authority.

Nimrat Gill died on Feb. 7 after being sent home from Abbotsford Regional Hospital a day earlier

Mourners packed a funeral home on Feb. 21 for Nimrat Gill's funeral service. The three-year-old died in hospital after being sent home from the emergency room a day earlier. (CBC)

A three-year-old girl who died at Abbotsford Regional Hospital in February had an "invasive" bacterial infection according to laboratory test results, says the Fraser Health Authority.

The results are part of a quality of care review that Fraser Health launched following the death of Nimrat Gill on Feb. 7, a day after she had been admitted to the emergency room and later discharged home.

The B.C. Coroners Service will formally determine the cause of death once it completes its own independent investigation of the case, as it is required to do for all child deaths in the province.

However laboratory test results indicate that Gill had "a fast-moving and aggressive bacterial infection known as invasive group A streptococcal disease," according to Fraser Health.

Disease usually causes strep throat, other mild illnesses

Group A streptococcal disease usually causes mild illnesses such as strep throat or a mild skin infection.

However on rare occasions it can also invade parts of the body where the bacteria are not found — such as the lungs or blood — and these invasive infections are potentially life-threatening, according to Fraser Health.

Nimrart Gill (left) gets a big kiss from her big sister, Simrat. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

"Given what we know about how aggressive and fast-moving an invasive group A streptococcal infection can be, it cannot be determined if an earlier diagnosis and subsequent treatment would have saved Nimrat's life," Fraser Health president and CEO Michael Marchbank said in a statement. 

The health authority has also come up with six actions following their review of Gill's death.

These include sepsis screening for all pediatric patients whether or not they are showing symptoms, regular simulation training in pediatric emergencies, and an investigation of shift change and escalation processes in the Abbotsford emergency department to see whether further improvements can be made. 

Also, a pediatric early warning tool that has been tested at Richmond Hospital will be more widely implemented.

"Nothing we do will bring Nimrat Gill back," Marchbank said.

"We have shared the changes that will be implemented with her family and our hearts are with them during this very challenging time."

Gill's parents could not be reached for comment, but her mother Balraj previously told CBC News she believes her daughter should have received better treatment.

"The system should be more careful about children," she said. "They should check them properly."