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Girl Dies After Doctor Refuses to See Her For Being Late

Girl Dies After Doctor Refuses to See Her For Being Late

Brandi Clark, the grandmother of 5-year-old Ellie-May Clark, stands outside Newport Coroner's Court, where an inquest heard that she died after being turned away from an emergency doctor's appointment because she was late. (Claire Hayhurst/PA via AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 February 2018 01:46 PM

A 5-year-old girl with severe asthma died in 2015 after a doctor refused to see her for being late for an emergency appointment, and now the doctor is facing an inquest in the case, The Guardian reported.

Ellie-May Clark was denied "potentially life-saving treatment" by a failed system, a coroner testified, The Guardian reported Monday. The girl with her mother, Shanice Clark, arrived at the office of Dr. Joanne Rowe in Newport, Wales, between 5:10 p.m. and 5:18 p.m. for the 5 p.m. appointment, the newspaper wrote.

But the arrival reportedly violated the doctor's 10-minute rule for being late, The Guardian said. Even though the child was wheezing and unable to walk because of the asthma, the girl was turned away, according to inquest testimony, the newspaper said.

Once home, Shanice Clark found her daughter struggling to breathe with her hands and face turning blue about 10:30 p.m. and called an ambulance, according to testimony. Ellie-May Clarke died shortly afterward at Royal Gwent Hospital, The Guardian reported.

Rowe's receptionist Ann Jones contacted Rowe when the Clarks arrived, but Rowe told her to reschedule the appointment for the following morning because she was late, according to the inquest testimony, per the Press Association.

Jones never asked why the girl was late, her condition, or give any advice on what to do if her condition worsened in the meantime, the Press Association noted.

"Dr. Rowe made a clinical decision without any clinical information whatsoever," Rob Sowersby, the Clarks' family attorney told the inquest, per the Press Association. "She sent away a 5-year-old patient from an emergency appointment without even opening her records.

"Dr. Rowe agreed that when she opened the letter from the hospital, stating that Ellie-May was at risk of serious/life-threatening asthma, she should have recorded that prominently on Ellie-May's clinical record. If she had done that then that would have been obvious to her when the clinical records were opened."

The Press Association wrote that Rowe did not have any appointments from 4:50 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. and was seeing another patient when the Clarks arrived. Rowe said she did not ask another doctor to see Ellie-May Clark, but admitted she would have treated the case differently if she had reviewed the child's medical notes, according to the Press Association.

"I don’t know (why I didn't suggest another doctor)," Rowe testified, per the Press Association. "I was busy seeing to the other patient that I had with me.

"If you have 25 patients to see in a morning or afternoon and a lot of people are 15 minutes late or 20 minutes late you are never going to be able to manage your work," Rowe testified about her 10-minute patient rule, per the Press Association.

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A doctor in Wales is facing scrutiny after a 5-year-girl died after being turned away for being late for an emergency appointment.
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2018-46-27
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 01:46 PM
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