Beds, Herts & Bucks

Heart attack toddler Lucie Linforth 'waited more than an hour at Marston Surgery'

A 23-month-old girl who had a heart attack at a GP surgery had waited more than an hour beforehand to be seen by a nurse, an inquest heard.

Lucie Linforth collapsed at the Marston Surgery, Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, in October and was taken to Bedford Hospital where she died.

Ampthill Coroner's Court heard she died of a "serious viral lung infection".

A hospital paediatrician said he could not say for sure she would have lived if she had been seen earlier.

The court heard Lucie Linforth had not been registered with the Marston Surgery on 5 October, when she was taken in, having moved from Luton a few months previously.

She was put on the computer system at 08:52 BST and was seen by nurse Ellen Clegg 66 minutes later.

The toddler then went into full cardiac arrest so Ms Clegg called for the surgery GP. They tried to resuscitate Lucie and called for an ambulance.

'Lips dehydrating'

The child's father, Eric Linforth, said during the wait in the surgery his daughter was "overheating" and her "lips were dehydrating."

Ms Clegg, who has 25 years of nursing experience, most of which was in accident and emergency, said the child did not initially appear to have breathing difficulties and had a temperature of 38.3C (101F), which was not unusually high but indicated a virus.

She added that Mr Linforth was "relaxed" when he brought her in.

The court heard the child's "sudden" heart attack was brought on by a serious viral infection of her lungs, against a background of a common cold.

Pathologist Dr Roger Malcolmson, from Leicester Royal Infirmary, said: "It is very difficult for lay person to detect this virus."

Dr Arora, paediatric consultant at Bedford Hospital, said it was not certain if Lucie's life would have been saved if there had not been a delay.

"There is no guarantee, even if she had been seen hours before, that the outcome would have been different," he said.

The inquest is due to finish on Friday.

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