Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Five-year-old girl dies after doctor refused to see her because she was ‘5 minutes late’ for appointment


LONDON: A minor girl died of an asthma attack after a doctor refused to see her because she was just ‘five minutes late’ to her appointment in South Wales.

Little Ellie-May Clark, who suffered from ‘life-threatening asthma’, was taken to her surgery after falling ill at school.

The kid’s mother Shanice Clark had called the clinic for an emergency appointment after Ellie-May had been unable to walk home and was wheezing. But Shanice said she was five minutes late to Ellie-May’s 5pm appointment and then had to wait in line to speak to the receptionist, The Sun reported.

The court was told that she reached the reception desk of The Grange Clinic in Newport, South Wales between 5.10pm and 5.18pm.

Mother of the deceased child.

But because the surgery had a ’10 minute rule’ for lateness, GP Dr Joanne Rowe told Shanice and Ellie-May to return the next day.

After being turned away, the little girl was left in tears and asked her worried mother: ‘Why won’t the doctor see me, mummy?’

That night Shanice put Ellie-May to bed and checked on her every ten to fifteen minutes, the inquest was told. But at 10.30pm Shanice found her blue and flailing around on the floor before ringing 999. Shanice said: ‘I tried to give her pump but she wouldn’t let me.

‘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 rushed to hospital on January 25 2015, but died before her mum arrived. Her cause of death was bronchial asthma.


Doctor who refused to see the ailing child for being five minutes late.

Giving evidence, Dr Rowe said receptionist Ann Jones rang her to say that Ellie-May had arrived but the GP had already called in her next patient. Dr Rowe said: ‘She said that the girl had arrived late. She said I’ll tell her to come back tomorrow morning shall I and I said yes.’

The inquest heard in March 2014 Dr Rowe had received a letter from a consultant saying Ellie-May was at risk of ‘life-threatening asthma’ but she did not write the information predominantly on the youngster’s file. Later the receptionist made a note saying ‘the youngster was late’.

Further investigation is underway.


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