Charlotte Hartey inquest concluded


Emily Davies

A TEENAGER who died after she was mis-diagnosed with swine flu may have survived if she had received the correct treatment an inquest has heard.

Charlotte Hartey, from Bronygarth, near Weston Rhyn, died in July 2009 at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital after she contracted an incredibly rare bacterial infection due to complications arising from tonsillitis.

Recording that Charlotte died from natural causes, North Shropshire Coroner, Mr John Ellery said: "The evidence indicated that the [swine flu] diagnoses were responsible ones to have made at the time, but later investigation indicated that they were probably incorrect.
"If different diagnoses had been made and treated accordingly it is possible that Charlotte may have survived," he added.

Last week's inquest in Shrewsbury heard that 16-year-old Charlotte was wrongly diagnosed with swine flu following a telephone conversation between her mother, Helen, and Dr Michael Arthur from The Caxton Surgery, Oswestry on July 22. This was later confirmed by another doctor following a home visit two days later.

But following slight improvement, she deteriorated and on July 29 was admitted to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where she died on July 31.

Mr Ellery added: "Whilst there were significant issues and concerns at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as to the process of information, treatment and ward allocation, the evidence indicated that Charlotte was at the time of admission unlikely to have survived."

Some of the concerns he had raised over the two-day inquest included issues in hospital record keeping, failures in the nursing care and breakdown in communication between doctors and with the family.
Following the verdict, Charlotte's father, Karl, said: "I
think we have got the answers we were looking for.
"This has been difficult for everyone concerned, but we had to ask the questions and they had to be answered."

But he added that although the inquest was now over, he would continue liaising with the Primary Care Trust to ensure the recommendations made following both an internal and external report would be carried out.

Steve Evans, Medical Director of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said:"The inquest has shown that even though some aspects of Charlotte's care could have been improved, sadly the outcome would almost certainly have been the same.
"The local NHS has learned lessons from Charlotte's case and has already implemented the recommendations made by the external review into her death," he added.

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