Yet another emergency room failure that should never have happened… In January 26, 2015, 5-year-old Ellie-May Clark was on her way to a scheduled emergency appointment for breathing difficulties she was experiencing.
Shanice Clark, Ellie-May’s mother, had called the Grange Clinic in Newport, South Wales to report her daughter’s worrying wheezing and inability to walk. However, Shanice had to wait until 4:35pm to get called back for a 5:00pm appointment.
In a rush, with an 8-week-old baby and no vehicle, Ellie-May’s mother was given less than half an hour to get her daughter to the clinic. By the time the Clark family arrived, it was 5:05pm, but the receptionist was on a call and there was still one person in line.
Sure, the Clark family was late, but only by five minutes. Between 5:10pm and 5:18pm is when they spoke to the receptionist. During this time, Ellie-May and her mother discovered the Grange Clinic’s strict “10-minute rule.”
As a result of that technicality, Dr. Joanne Rowe, the same doctor Ellie-May was scheduled to see, “Dr. Rowe replied that she wouldn’t see Ellie as she was late and she would need to come back the following day.”
It’s Not What Grange Clinic Did, It’s What They Failed to Do
Surprisingly, no one bothered to ask the Clark family why they were late or what Ellie-May’s emergency was. No one bothered to even open the young girl’s medical file or see if any other health practitioner was available. No one bothered to give Ellie-May’s mother any guidance or instructions on what to do if her daughter’s condition worsened.
Even at 5-years-old, Ellie-May knew something was wrong.
“Why won’t the doctor see me?” Ellie-May asked her mother, sitting in Grange Clinic’s waiting room.
The Clark family went home that evening uncertain. Ellie-May fell asleep by 8:00pm and her mother checked on her regularly – it’s all she could do. A couple of hours later, Shanice checked on her daughter who woke up with a coughing fit.
Ellie-May’s face and hands were turning blue.
As soon as possible, she was taken to Royal Gwent Hospital. But, it was too late and doctors pronounced her dead soon after. The cause of Ellie-May Clark’s death was bronchial asthma.
“Obviously now I would things differently,” said Shanice Clark, not thinking it would end this way.
Three Years After Ellie-May Clark’s Death
Finally, in 2018, the Clark family may finally feel some closure.
“From the evidence before me,” senior coroner Wendy James ruled, “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.”
However, they are “disappointed that a finding of neglect was not reached” and feel that “[Ellie-May] was let down.”
“Dr. Rowe knows that nothing can be said to Ellie-May’s family to make a difference,” the Grange Clinic released in a statement. “But she would like to say how truly sorry she is.”
“The family acknowledge an apology from Dr. Rowe, especially as they have been waiting in excess of three years for an outcome and to receive answers to their questions,” said their lawyer Justin Chisnall.
At this time, we’re unsure whether Dr. Rowe is set to face specific consequences. But, the coroner is in the process of writing up a report for the Grange Clinic and the local health board regarding the seemingly nonexistent care plan. And rightly so, because the life-costing decision played a role in Ellie-May Clark’s death.
Bronchial Asthma: Triggers and Symptoms
If you hear someone talking about bronchial asthma, they’re likely referring to asthma, the familiar chronic inflammatory disease that affects your airways and ability to breathe. Just so you’re aware, we’re outlined possible triggers and symptoms of bronchial asthma. Knowing them could help save a life.
Bronchial Asthma Triggers
There are many triggers, some of which can include:
- Smoking and secondhand smoke
- Colds, flu, or pneumonia
- Allergens (e.g., food, mold, pollen, pet dander)
- Air pollution
- Perfumes and fragrances
- Food additives (e.g., MSG)
- Drugs (e.g., aspirin and NSAIDs)
- Extreme changes in temperature
- Emotional stress and anxiety
- Acid reflux
Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma
Keep an eye for one or more of these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness of chest
- Excessive coughing (or a cough that prevents sleep)
You can never be too sure!
So, don’t be afraid to visit your health practitioner to make sure you’re not at risk of bronchial asthma. To help treat breathing difficulties naturally, you can even try these:
- News, S. (2018, February 27). Girl, 5, died after doctor turned her away for being 10 minutes late. Retrieved March 02, 2018, from https://news.sky.com/story/girl-5-died-after-doctor-turned-her-away-for-being-10-minutes-late-11269249
- Perez, C. (2018, February 26). Girl died hours after doctor turned her away for being a few minutes late. Retrieved March 02, 2018, from https://nypost.com/2018/02/26/girl-dies-hours-after-doctor-turned-her-away-for-being-a-few-minutes-late/
- Ellie-May Clark died after GP turned her away for being late. (2018, February 26). Retrieved March 02, 2018, from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-43196732#scso=uid_O6GUWpakMLDJ5gKNqrJY_1:0
- Schoolgirl with asthma died after being turned away from GP. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2018, from http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2018-02-26/schoolgirl-with-asthma-died-after-being-turned-away-from-gp/
- Becker, C. (2018, February 27). Tragedy struck hours after a doctor turned away a little girl for being minutes late to her appointment. Retrieved March 02, 2018, from https://rare.us/rare-news/around-the-world/tragedy-struck-hours-after-a-doctor-turned-away-a-little-girl-for-being-minutes-late-to-her-appointment/
- Bronchial Asthma. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/bronchial-asthma#1
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