London

Freya Wells death: 'Highly avoidable'

  • 20 January 2014
  • From the section London
Media captionFreya Wells died in 2012

A coroner has called for a doctor to be suspended after the "highly-avoidable" death of a four-year-old girl.

Freya Wells, from Wallington, south London, was taken to Kingston Hospital with breathing difficulties, vomiting and diarrhoea in November 2012.

The inquest heard a senior doctor over-ruled a more junior doctor's suggestion to give Freya intravenous drugs. Freya died the next day from septic shock.

At West London Coroner's Court a narrative verdict was delivered.

Assistant coroner Dr Sean Cummings said Freya's death was contributed to in a major part by neglect.

During the inquest, Dr Hilary Towse, a paediatric senior house officer, told the court she tried to convince paediatrics registrar Dr Rosita Ibrahim to call for a consultant to examine the girl in the early hours of 22 November.

'Beautiful smile'

She also said Freya should be given fluids and intravenous (IV) drugs rather than oral medication, but Dr Ibrahim disagreed with her.

Dr Ibrahim told the court that, despite Freya's high heart and respiratory rates, she followed guidelines which stated that children suffering from severe pneumonia should be given oral antibiotics to reduce their discomfort.

She added she had planned for the next dose of antibiotics to be given by IV.

Dr Ibrahim told the court: "I realise now it should not have been the case. She should have received intravenous antibiotics right after her vomit in A&E."

Dr Cummings said he would be writing to the General Medical Council recommending that Dr Ibrahim be suspended pending a formal investigation into her actions.

Outside the court, Lindsay Wells, Freya's aunt, said the family had been "shattered" by the girl's death.

She said: "We are relieved and pleased that the coroner's inquiry has determined what really happened.

"She was a happy, playful little girl who had a beautiful smile, bringing happiness to us and everyone in her life.

"We can now only take comfort from happy memories of her short life."

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