Meningitis patient died after 'communication breakdown'

A woman who was denied antibiotics that could have saved her from dying from meningitis texted photographs of the rash spreading across her body in the hours before her death, an inquest heard.

Joanne Dowling, 25, a cystic fibrosis sufferer, was taken to Milton Keynes General Hospital, in Buckinghamshire, with suspected meningococcal septicaemia but died after a "breakdown in communication" between doctors.

A locum consultant sent Miss Dowling for a CT scan and a lumbar puncture, and recommended a microbiologist was consulted on the best antibiotics to use because of her cystic fibrosis. But when the lumbar puncture came back negative, Dr Christian Akubuine, who had taken over her care, decided no antibiotics were needed.

Coroner Thomas Osborne recorded a narrative verdict. He told the inquest on Wednesday: "As a result of a breakdown in communication, the antibiotic therapy [in] ... treatment plan was not continued and resulted in a lost opportunity to render further medical treatment and she died of meningococcal septicaemia at 5.20am on November 24, 2009."