The press have recently reported the tragic case of Ellie-May who, at the age of 5, passed away following the refusal of her GP to see her and her mother. Heavy breathing during the night and a severe asthma attack led to her unfortunate passing.

The family were 10 minutes late in attending the GP appointment, the question on everyone’s lips is how can this cost a child her life.

The surgery of course do have a right to turn away patients who attend late for their appointment however, this was booked as an emergency. Criticism has been raised as to the failure of the GP to read Ellie’s notes prior to the refusal. The family had spent 5 minutes waiting at reception before the appointment was confirmed.

How obvious does it need to be for a GP to identify a case as urgent? When an appointment is made as an emergency it must be treated that way. Anything less cannot be a reasonable standard of care. The Coroner in this case did not find neglect, it does make one wonder what would therefore constitute neglect with such failings?

The surgery and NHS in general will hopefully learn from the mistakes that cost the life of a minor and as a result put in place procedures to prevent such a tragedy reoccurring.

If you feel that you have been mistreated by a medical professional in any way and wish to discuss this then please contact the Clinical Negligence team at Ramsdens for a free of charge and confidential discussion.