THE family of a Worcestershire teenager who died of a series of cardiac arrests days after being discharged from hospital have spoken of their fears the tragedy could be repeated.
Amy Carter, of Santa Maria Way, Stourport, died on Christmas Eve 2009, and her family have now secured an out-of-court settlement from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital, in Worcester.
The 15-year-old Stourport High School and Sixth Form Centre student was taken to the hospital on December 19 suffering from nausea, vomiting, a rash and a sore throat.
She was discharged two days later with glandular fever despite being too weak to walk and having lost more than half a stone in weight.
But her condition continued to worsen and on Christmas Eve she was rushed back to hospital, where she died of multi-organ failure while her parents Richard and Jacqueline and sister Samantha watched helplessly.
Although an inquest in July 2010 found she had died of natural causes and that the diagnosis of glandular fever was correct, Mr and Mrs Carter claimed the care she received was “inadequate”.
Although the trust has not accepted formal liability for his daughter’s death, Mr Carter said he and his wife were concerned another family could be put through the same ordeal.
“Our family has been utterly devastated at losing Amy,” he said. “We have really struggled to come to terms with what has happened.
“We feel that the treatment Amy received at hospital fell well below acceptable standards.
“We put our faith into the clinicians that were looking after her in hospital and now we have to live with the guilt of thinking we could have done more to save her life.”
He said he and his wife were “bitterly disappointed” the trust had not accepted responsibility for their daughter’s death and was unable to provide a detailed explanation of what went wrong.
“We are now trying to piece our lives back together after the shock of losing our precious daughter,” he said..
“We hope that through Amy’s case lessons are learnt by medical staff in recognising when patients need further treatment rather than being sent home in the hope no other family has to go through what we have.”
Experts from medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell – which secured the settlement – said Amy developed septicaemia as a result of the overwhelming amount of bacteria which entered her Amy’s bloodstream through the fever.
Thomas Riis-Bristow from Irwin Mitchell said if Amy had not been discharged she would have survived.
The trust’s chief executive Penny Venables said: “All involved in Amy’s care were extremely saddened to learn of her death and we extend our greatest sympathies.
“Following Amy’s death a full investigation was carried out by the Trust which found that at all stages of her hospital stay, Amy received appropriate care. We are pleased that the legal claim has now been resolved.”