Doctor Who Was 'Unconcerned' before 2-Year-Old Girl Died of Sepsis Apologizes in Court
An inquest into the death of a toddler while in the hospital showed that her death could have been prevented as the doctor who examined the two-year-old cried as she apologized in court.
The tragic situation began unfolding on December 2, 2017, when Marcie’s dad James Tadman became concerned with her breathing. His daughter had a cough for a few weeks, but her breathing got worse, so James took her to the out of hours GP service early in the morning.
The service diagnosed Marcie with a viral infection, but by the evening her breathing became “raspy,” and out of concern, James took her to the hospital.
The toddler from Bath got admitted to the children's ward soon after and James told the inquest that “A male nurse told me she was suffering from a simple chest infection,” and a course of antibiotics would get Darcie “right as rain.”
The following evening Marcie’s monitors kept going off warning of low blood oxygen levels, but staff reassured James that the antibiotics she was on would help and that everything was going to be okay.
In the early hours of December 5, 2017, Marcie vomited again. According to James the consultant in charge took one look at the toddler and asked his staff why she had not been moved into intensive care.
The staff promptly got things ready for her transfer, but it was too late as Marcie went into cardiac arrest shortly before 6 am from which doctors could not bring her back.
The post-mortem showed Marcie died from pneumonia and sepsis. Crying in court during the inquest, the doctor who examined Marcie in the emergency room, Dr. Claire Verey said using the sepsis screening tool never crossed her mind.
She could see that Marcie was sick and based her diagnoses solely on the child she saw in front of her and tearfully apologized:
"I cannot fully explain why sepsis didn't pop up in my head. It's just I genuinely felt that all the signs pointed to pneumonia. Rather than using the screening tool I used my own judgment looking at Marcie as she was in front of me. I apologize wholeheartedly for what happened to Marcie.''
The inquest continues.
The responsibility resting on the shoulders of medical staff is heavy as one small oversight can irrevokably lead to someone’s death, as it did with Marcie, or change it forever as it did with Thalia.
The 14-year-old first became sick in July 2018 when she got increasing lethargic. However, her GP in Wales thought she had a water infection and sent her home with medication.
After her condition failed to improve, she went to the doctor for a second time but got sent home once more. Her mum immediately phoned an ambulance when she found Thalia having a seizure in the bathroom.
An MRI scan at the hospital revealed a massive abscess pressing against the back of her brain. She had to get emergency surgery, the first of two operations doctors did not expect her to live through, but she did. Following surgery, Thalia also suffered two strokes.
The strokes significantly affected her right side, and she has some permanent damage to her frontal lobe where the abscess pressed against her brain. That center controls her decision making, speech, and short term memory and doctors have no idea how it will affect Thalia long term.
When the Middlebury family went through a similar situation and tragically lost their daughter, they told their story with the hope that it would prevent other parents living through the same nightmare.