The family of four-year-old Freya Wells, who died of septic shock at Kingston Hospital after “flagrant and extreme” failings, have paid tribute to a “happy, playful little girl”.
The inquest into Freya’s death was concluded this morning, with coroner Dr Sean Cummings at a loss for words to address her mother, Carly, after the distressing three day proceedings.
Dr Cummings said in summing up that Dr Rosita Ibrahim, the registrar in charge of Freya’s care, “was out of her depth” the night the little girl was admitted to hospital, and that the severity of Freya’s illness "was obvious to every other clinician at the time".
The inquest heard from a fellow doctor last Friday that Dr Ibrahim’s examination of Freya was “perfunctory”.
Lindsay Wells, left, reads a statement on behalf of Freya's mum Carly, centre right. Photo: Jon Sharman
Freya’s aunt Lindsay Wells read a statement outside West London Coroner’s Court this morning, on behalf of her sister.
She said: “I am relieved and pleased that the coroner’s inquiry has determined what really happened on November 21 and 22, 2012 leading to the tragic death of my beautiful little daughter Freya.
“She was a happy, playful little girl who had a beautiful smile bringing happiness to us and everyone in her life.
“She leaves a loving extended family whose lives have been shattered as a result of her tragic death and we can now only take comfort from happy memories of her short life.
“We wish to make it clear that we have always respected the medical profession and continue to do so.
“We know their work is difficult at times and mistakes can be made.
“However, we believe the Coroner’s Inquiry has shown Freya was a very sick child who needed basic but nonetheless urgent specialist medical attention which sadly she never received.
“It is now clear that one doctor in particular grossly failed Freya, us and her own colleagues on the night in question which has changed our lives forever.
“We were shocked to hear her say during her evidence that she accepted the panel’s findings that she had failed to recognise respiratory distress in the accident and emergency department and failed to recognise the severity of Freya’s condition including signs of septic shock until she spoke to the on-call consultant.
“Sadly, she now states that had she appreciated the severity of Freya’s condition she would have given IV antibiotics and a fluid bolus which we now know was extremely likely to have saved my beautiful little daughter’s life.
“We hope that she fully understands the pain and sorrow that has been caused due to her direct actions.
“We are also pleased that the coroner will be recommending suspension of the Dr Ibrahim’s licence pending a formal investigation.
“We also hope that at least systems will now be improved in the future as a result of Freya’s untimely death which will hopefully result in better treatment for other children who attend for emergency care under the control of Kingston Hospital”.
Solicitor Rankeshwar Batta, acting for the Wells family, said: “This case was all about inadequate communication, the failure to recognise an obvious and escalating high risk condition and most importantly, taking personal responsibility to ensure appropriate treatment and a specialist referral was in place for a very sick child.
“We have heard evidence throughout the Inquest that a child with symptoms like Freya who goes into hospital should survive unless there are exceptional circumstances and that the diagnosis of septic shock should have been made at a much earlier stage.
“We will now consider next steps with Freya’s mother in respect of any formal action she may wish to take against the Kingston Hospital.”