Doctors could have saved young girl’s life, court hears

Lewisham Hospital. Pic: Juan Luis Passarelli

Lewisham Hospital. Pic: Juan Luis Passarelli

A nine-year-old girl who died in Lewisham Hospital on Christmas Day last year could have been saved, an inquest has found.

Yesterday, Dr Philip Barlow told Southwark Coroner’s Court that the junior doctor who discharged Rhianna Rawding may have done so too early.

After being discharged, Rawding collapsed at home. She was rushed back to hospital but died of septicaemia as staff failed to revive her.

Gemma Rawding, Rhianna’s mother, said: “Bereavement is never easy for anyone but when it’s your child it’s very hard.”

Rhianna had battled with kidney problems and infections for much of her life due to a kidney abnormality. She had been complaining of headaches for a number of days, causing her parents to take her to hospital.

Barlow said it was highly likely that if Rhianna had been retained in hospital, her deterioration would have been noticed and acted upon. But Barlow said he could not go as far as to say it would definitely have saved her life.

Last year, an analysis of daily death rates revealed that a shortage of senior staff during the Christmas period could be causing a peak in deaths.

Rhianna’s father, Justin Rawding, said: “On a personal level, I feel she was let down by the hospital.”

Lewisham hospital consultant Dr Tina Sajjanhar told the inquest: “I think it is very difficult to disagree with the father’s view that Rhianna should have been kept in for observation.”

The coroner said he was satisfied that the hospital had sufficiently amended their training policies and admissions guidelines since Rawding’s death.

A statement issued by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, which runs Lewisham hospital, said: “We offer our sincere condolences to Mr and Mrs Rawding for the tragic death of their daughter Rhianna.”

“We will be examining the outcome of the inquest in detail before commenting further. At this difficult time our thoughts are with Rhianna’s family.”

The Care Quality Commission are yet to assess the hospital, but online patient opinion polls are available to the public. As of October 1, 2013, when the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust was formed, Lewisham Hospital has a four-star rating based on 35 reviews.

Leave a Reply