Five year old girl dies after being turned away by her GP

Several newspapers have today reported on the shocking facts which have emerged during the Inquest into the tragic death of five year old Ellie-May Clark.

Ellie-May suffered from asthma. Her consultant had previously written to her GP warning that she was at risk of having an episode of “severe/life threatening asthma”. Despite this, Ellie-May was turned away from an emergency doctor’s appointment because she was ten minutes late, the Inquest has been told.

The GP concerned, Dr Rowe, had a rule that she would not see patients who were more than 10 minutes late for an appointment. Ellie-May’s mother had found her to be wheezy when she collected her from school at 3pm. She called her GP surgery and requested a home visit, but was called back at 4.35pm and offered an emergency appointment at 5pm. She warned that she might be late due to childcare issues and arrived at the surgery at 5.05pm. She waited in line to speak to the receptionist and by the time she got to the front of the queue, she had fallen outside of the “ten minute rule”. Ellie-May’s mother was told she would have to bring her back to the surgery in the morning because she was late.

Tragically, Ellie-May died later that night following a severe asthma attack.

Despite Ellie-May’s consultant having previously written to her GP warning that she was at risk of having an episode of severe/life threatening asthma, it appears that this risk was never properly entered or “flagged up” in her GP records. However, this would not have saved Ellie-May as neither the GP concerned, nor the receptionist, checked her medical records, asked why the appointment was required, or offered for her to see another doctor at the practice. This demonstrates a catalogue of failings at this particular GP practice, which has led to the tragic death of little Ellie-May.

Here at Girlings Personal Injury Claims, we frequently deal with claims against GPs, most commonly for delayed diagnosis and delayed referral. As demonstrated by the tragic case of Ellie-May, the consequences can be devastating.