Devastated Parents Of Teenage Girl Who Died Of Multi-Organ Failure On Christmas Eve Speak Of Ongoing Emotional Trauma

Expert Medical Lawyers Secure Settlement From NHS Trust


The parents of a teenage girl who died on Christmas Eve of septicaemia and multi-organ failure within days of being discharged from hospital have spoken of their fears that the same tragedy could be repeated.

Richard and Jacqueline Carter are speaking out after expert medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured them an out of court  settlement from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust following the death of their 15-year-old daughter Amy, just three days after she was discharged from the Worcestershire Royal Hospital on 21 December 2009 with a diagnosis of glandular fever.

However, the couple, from Stourport-on-Severn in Worcestershire, say nothing can make up for the emotional trauma they continue to suffer and they remain frustrated that the Trust settled the case without making any admissions of  formal liability, despite  accepting that if Amy had not been discharged, she would in all likelihood have survived.

Expert medical evidence gathered by Irwin Mitchell found that Amy should not have been discharged home on 21st December 2009, and had she remained in hospital her deteriorating condition would have been noticed and she would have been provided with life-saving antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection she had developed as a complication of a serious episode of glandular fever. The Trust maintains that the decision to discharge Amy on 21st December 2009 was the right one. Amy was discharged home and an overwhelming amount of bacteria entered her bloodstream causing septicaemia which resulted in a rapid deterioration and Amy developing multi-organ failure.

Irwin Mitchell found hospital staff discharged Amy despite her parents raising concerns that Amy

• Was unable to walk as she was so weak;
• Had lost over half a stone in weight;
• Had developed a widespread rash over her body;
• Was suffering with a high temperature.

Amy’s devastated parents, backed by their legal team at Irwin Mitchell, are now calling on the Trust to show that lessons have been learnt following Amy’s death and measures have been put in place to ensure another child and another family do not suffer the same fate.

Thomas Riis-Bristow, a medical law and patient’s rights lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said: “Amy’s parents and older sister have been through unimaginable distress and have been left devastated by Amy’s death. Ever since Amy’s death the family have been desperate for answers about whether more could have been done to save her.

 “They are disappointed that the Trust has made no formal admission of liability, despite accepting that if Amy had not been discharged, she would have survived.

“Our independent expert medical evidence has found that Amy’s condition was such that she should have remained in hospital. Our medical experts agree with the Trust’s position that had Amy had been monitored and given antibiotics she would have survived.

“Nothing can turn back the clock, but the settlement at the very least, marks the conclusion of the family’s long legal battle to secure justice for Amy’s memory. We hope that any shortcomings the Trust found in its own internal investigation into the treatment given to Amy are improved to prevent any future deaths in similar circumstances.”

Amy fell ill in early December with a sore throat and flu-like symptoms and she was advised by her GP to rest and take paracetamol. Her condition worsened over the following days and she developed a rash, puffy eyes and a fever.

Richard and Jacqueline took Amy to Worcestershire Royal Hospital on 19 December where she was assessed by staff and had various tests. She was suffering from nausea, vomiting, a rash on her body and sore throat. Her tests came back positive for glandular fever.

She remained unwell in hospital until 21st December where her parents remained concerned about her condition. Amy’s mother remained by Amy’s side 24-hours a day whilst she was admitted to hospital and was shocked to be told she would be discharged despite the lack of any improvement in her ongoing condition - her rash had spread over her body by this time and she was unable to take on adequate amounts of food or water.

Whilst at home, Amy’s condition deteriorated further and on Christmas Eve, she was taken from her home by ambulance and rushed into A&E at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Amy suffered multiple cardiac arrests and developed multi-organ failure.  After repeated resuscitation attempts, whilst Amy’s parents and sister watched on helplessly, she died shortly after admission.

Richard said: “Our family has been utterly devastated at losing Amy; we have really struggled to come to terms with what has happened. We feel that the treatment Amy received at hospital fell well below acceptable standards. We put our faith into the clinicians that were looking after her in hospital and now we have to live with the guilt of thinking we could have done more to save her life.

“We have been fighting for justice for Amy ever since she died and the settlement from the Trust marks the end of a long legal battle. However, we are bitterly disappointed that they didn’t fully accept any responsibility for what happened to our daughter and were unable to provide us with any detailed explanation of what went wrong. Without this information, the reality is that we have no faith that the same tragedy can never be repeated.

“Our lives have been turned upside down since 2009 and as a family we no longer celebrate Christmas as it marks the anniversary of us losing Amy. We are now trying to piece our lives back together after the shock of losing our precious daughter.

“We hope that through Amy’s case lessons are learnt by medical staff in recognising when patients need further treatment rather than being sent home in the hope no other family has to go through what we have.”