5-Year-Old Girl Dies After Doctor Turns Her Away For Lateness To Emergency Appointment

On Jan. 26, 2015, Shanice Clark received a troubling call from her daughter’s school. An administrator said her 5-year-old, Ellie-May Clark, was experiencing trouble breathing that spurred bouts of wheezing. Her sudden health condition also prevented the child from walking.

According to SKY News, Clark immediately called Grange Clinic in Newport, South Wales for an emergency appointment. Upon their arrival, which was 10 minutes behind the scheduled consultation, Dr. Joanne Rowe reportedly refused to see the child due to their lateness.

Clark decided to take her daughter home where she rested, but five hours later she was transported to a hospital after another coughing fit that turned her “face and hands” blue. She was pronounced dead around 10:30 p.m. A coroner ruled that she suffered from bronchial asthma.

A call was placed to the Grange Clinic around 3:30 p.m. after Clark received the news of her daughter’s health. She states she didn’t receive a callback until 4:35 p.m. where she was given a 5 p.m. appointment. Between 5:10-5:18 p.m., Clark spoke with the clinic’s receptionist, Ann Jones, who then notified Dr. Rowe of the child’s arrival. Her mother was then told she would need to make an appointment for the next day despite the fact that she managed to arrive at the clinic at 5:05 p.m.

Senior coroner for Gwent, Wendy James, condemned the general practitioner’s actions in court recently, stating, “From the evidence before me, it is not possible for me to determine with certainty whether an earlier intervention would have altered the outcome for Ellie. Nonetheless, Ellie should have been seen by a GP that day and she was let down by the failures in the system.”

A statement presented to the court on Dr. Rowe’s behalf states her regret and that although she can’t reorder her steps in the past, “she would like to say how truly sorry she is.”