Family left heartbroken after daughter's death as doctors failed to detect serious brain damage in the girl

A British family was left heartbroken after a swimming accident left their eight-year-old daughter seriously brain damaged, causing her to die a few days later.

                            Family left heartbroken after daughter's death as doctors failed to detect serious brain damage in the girl
Doctors failed to detect the extent of her injuries (Getty Images)

A British couple has finally come forward to speak of the pain and heartbreak they experienced after their eight-year-old daughter passed away due to a freak accident. Indianna Rosa almost drowned on December 21, 217, and suffered severe brain damage as a result, but because doctors in Egypt, where the family was holidaying at the time, failed to detect the extent of her injuries, she did not get the medical treatment her condition warranted and died four days later, on Boxing day.

44-year-old Tommy Maddison and his 38-year-old wife, Kelly Maddison, hail from Bishop Auckland in County Durham and were enjoying a well-deserved vacation during Christmas season at Hurghada, a beach resort town that is one of Egypt's primary tourist attractions.

They took along with them their nine children, with all going swimmingly well until disaster struck six days into the holiday. The second youngest, Indianna, was frolicking and having fun at the deep end of the pool when she lost footing and began to drown.

Tommy still remembers the events of that fateful day very well. Recalling the accident, he was quoted saying by the Northern Echo: "We were all there. She waved at me from the steps and I think she got too confident or slipped, bless her. It happened so quickly, I heard screams and someone was pulling her from the pool."

That someone was Alistair Lee, a family friend from Leeds who was also on the spot and saw the child in trouble, jumping in immediately to pull her out. Tommy says he's still thankful for Lee's actions that day and that his daughter probably would not have even been alive for the next five days if it were not for him.

Lee began performing CPR on the eight-year-old but she would not start breathing on her own until she was in an ambulance which was preparing to take her to the Accident & Emergency section of the local hospital. While the couple believed that Lee's actions saved their young daughter's life, her condition only worsened over the coming days, making them question how doctors had missed such obvious signs of trouble. 

After admission to the hospital, Indianna's condition stabilized but the parents knew that the next 24 hours would be important in determining how her recovery would pan out. Unfortunately for them, in between the hospital's startling lack of facilities and what seemed to be incompetence from the very people tasked with taking care of her, some fatal mistakes would be made. 

Indianna drifted in and out of consciousness, responding to her parents and smiling, but the couple was still in two minds on whether they should shift her out of the hospital and take her back home to the UK for treatment. Their indecision would prove costly.

She was airlifted back home three days later (Source: Facebook)


It would be another three days before they decided that they needed to have her airlifted back home and had a fit-to-fly certificate issued by the hospital for the same. It would be Kelly who accompanied her daughter on the ambulance while the rest agreed to join up with them the next day.

But yet another problem would present itself. The medical staff on the air ambulance were concerned that the eight-year-old had suffered brain damage, the first the parents had heard of it and relayed their fears that transportation might exacerbate her condition.

The Maddisons had to take responsibility for her transport (Source: Facebook)

The Maddisons had little choice but to sign a form that took all responsibility for whatever may happen to Indianna in the subsequent flight, allowing for the hospital to wash their hands off the case. The mother-daughter pair arrived at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle the next morning, where they were explained the true nature of her injuries.

Kelly explained what the doctors had said to them: "The treatment was worlds apart from what we'd had. Doctors sat me down and told me she was seriously brain damaged. I, even they, got a shock how poorly she was."

She suffered a cardiac arrest just before her death (Source: Facebook)


The family could do little but stay by their young daughter's side as she suffered a cardiac arrest in the coming days. The hospital staff did their best to keep her alive and breathing but soon gave the tragic news that Indianna had little hope for survival.

They took her out of the hospital and back home, where they watched over her as her condition slowly worsened. It was on Boxing Day when they realized that she was not capable of fighting any longer and decided that it was time to let her go.

Many contributed to raise money after her death (Source: Facebook)

Speaking longingly of her daughter at a later date, Kelly said: "She was a shy girl, we were always overprotective. She'd been a fighter all her life after being born prematurely and had operations for a bowel blockage as a baby then, at two, to remove a thumb as she was born with two on one hand."

"She was a bit of a tomboy, we'd made her wear a bow and a dress for a family photo the night before it happened. We treasure that picture now," warning other parents that when they plan to take their children abroad on holiday, they should do so by taking into account medical facilities in the country and by ensuring their insurance was in check. 

After her death, Indianna was christened in the hospital and laid to rest with her sister Bobbie-Jo, who had died of cot death 18 years ago. The family worked with Rev. Matt Keddilty of St. Andrews Church, to find an appropriate headstone for the girl and thanked the community for their fundraising efforts during this difficult time.