Seeing your child sick is every parent’s nightmare. We do everything in our power to make our little ones as comfortable as possible, but when love, care and nursing aren’t enough, it’s doctors that we turn to.
On January 26, 2015, five-year-old Ellie-May Clark suffered an asthma attack. Her mom, Shanice Clark, immediately called the doctors in an attempt to get someone out for a home visit.
Although a home visit wasn’t possible, Ellie-May was given an emergency appointment at Grange Clinic in Newport, Wales. Her mother was told she had 25 minutes to get to the appointment.
Shanice, who had recently given birth to another child, had no car in which to drive, but she informed the doctors surgery that they were on their way.
When they arrived five minutes late they got stuck in a queue to get to the reception desk. As a result, they were forced to wait another few minutes. By the time their turn came around, the doctor refused to see them.
Apparently, Dr. Joanne Rowe had a strict policy not to accept patients who were more than ten minutes late for their appointment.
Sky News say that, according to Shanice, she talked to the doctors at 16:35 and was handed an appointment for 17:00.
Shanice says that her daughter asked, “Why won’t the doctor see me?” after it became apparent that they would not be seen.
The receptionist at the surgery claimed that Shanice and Ellie-May had arrived 18 minutes late. According to the New York Post, this is something that Shanice refutes.
Doctor asked Shanice to return the next day
Shanice was, quite obviously, angered and upset regarding the decision to turn her and her daughter away. The BBC say that Dr. Rowe did not enquire as to the reason behind Ellie-May’s appointment, and didn’t look into her medical notes either, before refusing her.
The coroner involved with the case was made aware of the ten minute rule, but was told that it was the first time the rule had ever been imposed on an emergency appointment.
Instead of seeing a doctor, Shanice was told to go home and check on her daughter every ten to fifteen minutes.
She did just that, putting Ellie-May to bed at 20:00. At 22:30, she could hear her daughter coughing and so went to check on her. She found that Ellie-May had fallen out of bed, and her face and hands had both turned blue. The young girl was rushed to Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, but died in the ambulance on the way there.
5-year-old girl dies of asthma attack hours after doctor turned her away!LONDON: A 5-year-old girl died of an asthma…
The inquest was told that the cause of death had been bronchial asthma.
After the hearing for the case, the family made a statement revealing how disappointed they were to be rejected when they sought help.
As per the New York Post, the coroner wrote in her verdict: “From the evidence before me, it is not possible for me to determine with certainty whether an earlier intervention would have altered the outcome for Ellie, but nonetheless Ellie should have been seen by a [doctor] that day and she was let down by the failures in the system.”
Doctors surgery makes statement
Of course, no amount of apologies will give Shanice her daughter back.
According to coroner Wendy James, there was no strategy when it came to helping Ellie-May. That said, it’s impossible to know for sure if she died as a result of the doctor’s rejection.
James promised to write a letter to the surgery in question, as well as Anuerin Bevan health board and the health inspectorate of Wales, in a bid to prevent something like this ever happening again.
It goes without saying that no child in need of help should be sent home without so much as a simple check. Hopefully such a tragic event can be used as an example, so as to stop similar events unfolding in the future.
Share this article with you friends on Facebook if you, too, think that the surgery was wrong to send home Ellie-May!