Toddler's death the subject of coroner's inquest

(Rebecca Lamb/WCIV)

By Eric

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Charleston County Coroner has called for an inquest to determine the cause of death of a 2-year-old North Charleston girl.

The toddler died July 4 at MUSC.

Ginny Hughes was hospitalized two days earlier after being found unresponsive, under the care of a babysitter.

According to a police report, she was in full cardiac arrest and she wasn't breathing when she was rushed to the hospital July 2. She died two days later.

Meantime, police say this wasn't the first time she needed medical attention.

Officers say Ginny lived in a mobile home with her mother near Dorchester Road. The toddler was being watched by a live-in babysitter in July when she was found.

Police said Ginny's babysitter told them the child had a history of seizures and dehydration. In fact, a North Charleston Police Department report says she was treated at MUSC in April after tests found the toddler suffered from brain and retinal hemorrhages.

Experts say this type of injury can be life threatening.

"It (the injury) can be on the surface of the brain, it can be deep in the brain, but it's essentially a bruise contusion or bleeding in the brain," said divisional chief of MUSC pediatric emergency Dr. Keith Borg.

Borg says a child who is suffering form this injury may appear sleepy or lethargic. Seizures then, at times, can be a result of bleeding on the brain.

"Usually, seizures don't cause hemorrhages, hemorrhages can cause seizures, so it can go that way, but the seizures don't cause bleeding," Borg said. "When we see hemorrhaging in young children from the retina or the eye, we are concerned about trauma as the primary cause."

According to investigators, following Ginny's stay at the hospital in April, the Department of Social Services temporarily took custody of the toddler. The report does not say what caused Ginny's injuries in April, or at the time of her death. But police say she was also found with some bruising on her body two days before she died in July.

There have been no charges filed in this investigation. The coroner's inquest will take place at 9 a.m. Friday.

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