Doctor's Office Turned Away Child For Being Late — Girl Died Hours Later

A mother in Wales rushed her daughter to the doctor's office when the asthmatic child began having breathing issues. The woman was a few minutes late, so the staff turned her away.

A few hours later, her daughter died. The clinic came under fire because they could have potentially save the child’s life if she had gotten treatment when she arrived.

An inquiry found the clinic and doctor not at fault.

In 2015 Shanice Clark's five-year-old daughter, Ellie-May, was having breathing issues related to asthma. She began wheezing and was having difficulty walking home from school.

The mother called the Grange clinic around 4:35 p.m., and she was asked to come in for a 5 p.m. appointment, according to Sky News. Clark, who had just given birth to another baby recently and who did not have a car, told them she might be a little late.

She had to get a sitter and catch a bus with her daughter.

She rushed to the clinic and arrived at about 5 minutes after the appointment time. Unfortunately, the receptionist was on the phone and had to process some other patients.

By the time Ms. Clark was able to get to the front desk, she was more than 10 minutes late.

The clinic has a strict '10-minute rule', refusing to see patients who arrive more than 10 minutes late. Without taking any medical information about the girl's condition, they sent her away.

“Why won’t the doctor see me?” Ellie-May asked her mother.

Clark brought Ellie-May home, and said she felt 'let down' by the clinic. The child's condition continued to worsen.

After a while she began coughing and turning blue, so the mother rushed her to the hospital emergency room. She died of bronchial asthma.

“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, but nonetheless Ellie should have been seen by a [doctor] that day and she was let down by the failures in the system,” read the coroner’s report.

The Grange Clinic put out the following statement: "Dr. [Joanne] Rowe knows that nothing can be said to Ellie-May’s family to make a difference, but she would like to say how truly sorry she is.”

The coroner is currently drafting letters to the board of health, the health inspectorate and chief coroner. The letters include suggestions that could help prevent similar deaths in the future.

He says this was the first time he's heard of the '10-minute rule' being imposed upon an emergency appointment.

It’s been three years since Ellie-May’s death, but an inquiry did not find that the doctor or clinic were responsible for the girl's death. The family is disappointed ‘disappointed that a finding of neglect was not reached’.  

"The family acknowledge an apology from Dr. Rowe, especially as they have been waiting in excess of three years for an outcome and to receive answers to their questions," said the family's attorney, Justin Chisnall.

Ellie-May's family remembers the little girl fondly and the mother is still trying to cope with her daughter's shocking death. Ellie-May's grandmother, Brandi Clark, remembers the little girl as 'funny and loving'.

Source: NY Post
Photo: Ellie-May Clark/NY Post, BBC, Athena Pictures

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