Seven-year-old girl from Melbourne dies suddenly after contracting pneumonia

"She was a little chatterbox and my best friend," Summer's mother said.
"She was a little chatterbox and my best friend," Summer's mother said.  Photo: Supplied

A young girl from Melbourne has died hours after showing symptoms of pneumonia while in Perth on a family holiday.

Summer Griffiths, 7, was taken to hospital on Sunday morning after a small cough developed into a high temperature and erratic breathing, her heartbroken mother said.

Doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth put Summer into an induced coma and tried to help her body get oxygen, but they couldn't stop her heart from failing. She was pronounced dead at 2pm.

Summer Griffiths, 7, died after contracting symptoms of pneumonia.
Summer Griffiths, 7, died after contracting symptoms of pneumonia. Photo: Supplied

"It was devastating, I knew that as soon as they had to put the breathing tube down her throat that it was terrible," said Summer's mother Ashleigh Griffiths. 

"She had such a high temperature and low oxygen that she was delirious. The head paediatrician told me that once she was in the induced coma that she would fall asleep and wasn't suffering."

Summer was a ray of sunshine, her mother said, and the "most beautiful amazing little girl". The grade one pupil at Windsor Primary School loved doing cartwheels, drawing and boxing. 

"She's touched so many people, she was a little chatterbox and my best friend," Ashleigh said. 

Ashleigh said she was grateful to the staff at the hospital for doing the best they could to save her daughter.

She has given permission for a limited autopsy to be performed on her only child, so more can be learned about the bacteria that took Summer's life and hopefully prevent a similar tragedy.

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"Summer always wanted to be a nurse, now she can still help people," she said. 

Ashleigh now has to wait for her child's body to be embalmed so it can be flown back to Melbourne. A fundraising page set up to help pay for the funeral has raised nearly $20,000.

"I'm still a bit numb from it all. I feel like I'm making arrangements to see her again," she said.

The death comes after Victoria endured a horror flu season, which has claimed the lives of eight-year-old Melbourne girl Rosie Andersen and Bacchus Marsh father Ben Ihlow​.