Parents' heartbreak as Bristol toddler dies after bump on the head
A TODDLER died as the "freak result" of a minor accident at her Bradley Stoke home.
An inquest heard Keira Gumeringer was just 16 months old when she fell in the kitchen of her home in The Valls, hitting her head on the fridge.
Yesterday's inquest at Flax Bourton Coroner's Court heard the toddler's parents first thought their four-year-old son Zachary had accidentally knocked her over.
But when her mother Annie lifted Keira up she realised something was wrong.
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In a statement read to the hearing Keira's father Donald Gumeringer, 50, said he was in another room when he heard a "thud".
"I went into the kitchen and saw Keira picking herself up," he said.
"From the sound of the thud I assumed Zachary had accidentally knocked her over."
He said his wife, who he referred to as Wallis, after her maiden name, picked their daughter up, adding: "I told Zach that he had to be more careful around his little sister.
"Wallis had Keira in her arms and started saying there was something wrong with Keira – she was gasping and having trouble breathing."
Mr Gumeringer said Keira began to convulse, as if she was having a fit. While his wife began CPR, he dialled 999.
Paramedics arrived and took Keira to Frenchay Hospital.
Avon Coroner Maria Voisin heard that surgeons operated on Keira, but she died early on December 23, 2011, the day after the incident.
In his statement Mr Gumeringer went on to say that his wife's sister Michelle had also died aged five or six, after falling off a climbing frame in her native South Africa.
Neurosurgeon Dr Ian Pople told the inquest that Keira had died from a large subdural haematoma, or blood clot between the skull and brain.
He said: "In children under the age of two or three there is a greater chance of blood accumulating in the subdural part of the brain.
"In younger patients, if you get some blood accumulating in that space, the force of the blood is likely to rupture other veins.
"I think Keira ruptured a vein in what was a very minor injury.
"That blood then ruptured more veins in her brain."
Dr Pople went on to say that doctors had looked at whether there was a particular weakness in Keira's veins that would have made her vulnerable to blood clots but tests had proved inconclusive.
"Veins can rupture through relatively minor blows but it is very rare for it to be this devastating," he said.
"This was the freak result of a minor bump to the head."
Mr Gumeringer told Ms Voisin that the family would be interested in speaking to a geneticist, as their main worry was that something similar might happen to their son.
He said that he could tell hospital staff had gone to "extreme lengths to save his little girl".
Ms Voisin said: "This was a very tragic result following what appears to be a very minor injury."
She gave the verdict as accidental death.