Inquiry into tumour death

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The Independent Online
A HOSPITAL launched an investigation after claims that a girl who died from a brain tumour had been turned away three times in one week.

The family of 16-year-old Joanna Phelps said she visited North Manchester General Hospital with headaches, slurred speech and weight loss but was not scanned. Her mother, Joan, of Newton Heath, Manchester, said Joanna was only admitted on 3 July when Mrs Phelps refused to go home.

Philip Randall, North Manchester Healthcare Trust's medical director, confirmed Joanna had been to hospital but said she had been fully assessed each time. The family found she died of a tumour after an examination done, at their insistence, at another hospital. They are taking legal advice.

Mrs Phelps said Joanna visited the hospital twice earlier in the year and in the week before she died a further three times.

On the Monday she was sent to an admissions ward, where a doctor said she should have a scan and gave her an appointment card for 22 July. This was brought forward to July 15.

But ill-health forced her back two days later on 30 June, where she was again not given a scan. The family say she returned on Friday and was sent home and told not to keep calling an ambulance. Mrs Phelps said the following evening she was so worried about her daughter, who was passing out and slurring her speech, that she called an ambulance. She said she begged a doctor for help, telling him Joanna was not eating or drinking, and he put her on a ward.

Mrs Phelps added that she again asked if her daughter could have a scan but another doctor put her on a vitamin drip and said she would be sent to a psychiatrist after the weekend. Less than 36 hours later she was dead.