A court has heard how a doctor refused to see a 5-year-old girl because she was 5 minutes late to an appointment, resulting in the girl’s death from an asthma attack. Ellie-May had suffered an asthma attack at school that was so severe she could not walk and was audibly struggling to breathe. Her mother was forced to book an emergency appointment with the local surgery for 5pm but arrived five minutes late and had to wait in line for the receptionist.
The inquest heard that the woman arrived sometime between 5.10pm and 5.18pm and that because the woman was more than 10 minutes late she would have to come back the following day. The GP did not even look at the young girl’s medical records before turning her away.
The girl’s mother then took her home and put her in bed, but checked on her every ten to fifteen minutes. At 10.30pm she entered the room and found the girl blue and “flopping” around on the floor. At this point she called 999.
“I tried to give her her pump but she wouldn’t let me,” Shanice told the inquest. “She fell off her bed onto the floor. I turned her light on and I saw her hands and her face were blue. That’s when I rang 999.”
Ellie-May was then taken to hospital by ambulance but passed before her mother arrived after her.
Dr Joane Rowe told the inquest she had no other patients to see and had not turned away an emergency appointment for four years. She said she felt uncomfortable turning the child away but did so anyway. It was also revealed that she had received a letter about Ellie-May’s life-threatening condition, but had not noted in the girl’s medical records. Nor did she check the girl’s medical records before sending her away.
Dr Rowe also told the inquest,
“Some particular doctors would adhere to the ten minute rule more than others.
“This is the only occasion that I was ever challenged with it with an emergency appointment.”
Meanwhile the inquest continues.