Rhianna Rawding inquest hears she was wrongly sent home from hospital

12th December 2013

Rhianna_resized_2.jpgJMW lawyers acting for the devastated parents of a nine-year-old girl who died of septicaemia on Christmas Day 2012 after a junior doctor wrongly sent her home from hospital will continue to investigate the serious concerns they have about her care.

The inquest into Rhianna Rawding’s death took place on Wednesday 11th December at Southwark Coroner’s Court and and returned a narrative conclusion. The coroner heard evidence from senior doctors at Lewisham Hospital who admitted they would have kept Rhianna in for observation.  

Her parents Gemma and Justin Rawding, of Rochester, Kent, were supported through the inquest by Beth Reay, a specialist solicitor at JMW.  

Ms Reay is also investigating why Rhianna was sent home from the A&E department of Lewisham Hospital when there were worrying signs that she was extremely unwell. Rhianna collapsed and died at her grandmother’s house of septicaemia just seven hours later.

Ms Reay commented: “We are very concerned about the care provided to Rhianna as some quite basic checks were not done. It is also very worrying that her parents reported symptoms to hospital staff that indicated she was suffering from septicaemia yet she was not kept in for observation.

“Rhianna was a very sick child who needed help. It is vital her family understands how, despite their best efforts to get her the care she needed, Rhianna was sent home from hospital.”

Rhianna’s mother Gemma Rawding commented: “The whole family has been absolutely devastated by Rhianna’s death and we want to ensure that lessons are learned so that no other family has to go through this nightmare. We believe Rhianna’s death could have been prevented with better care and we are determined to raise safety levels for other sick children who are taken to hospital.”

Rhianna was seen by her GP during the morning of 24th December 2012. Her GP told her parents that if Rhianna deteriorated in any way that she should be taken straight to hospital.

Rhianna deteriorated during the evening of 24th December 2012 and her worried parents followed the GP’s advice and rushed her to A&E at 12.30am on 25th December 2012. She had become unwell with a urinary tract infection (UTI) three days previously and her condition had worsened to the point that she could not walk, had breathing difficulties and her feet were freezing cold with purple blotches.

Rhianna, who had a history of UTIs related to a kidney abnormality, was assessed by a junior doctor. He confirmed that she had a urine infection and told her parents to take her home and to continue with the antibiotics prescribed by her GP. He did not keep her in for observation or further tests even though Rhianna’s parents told him the infection was unlike any she had ever experienced before and she was lethargic.

Gemma and Justin reluctantly took Rhianna home where she continued to feel very unwell. At 6.30am Rhianna was complaining of being cold and Gemma ran her a bath to warm her up. Justin carried Rhianna to the bath but her lips went blue and her eyes completely vacant.

Rhianna went into cardiac arrest and Justin called for an ambulance. Paramedics tried to resuscitate her on the way to the hospital but nothing could be done to bring her back and she tragically died.

Rhianna’s parents are raising money through Rhianna’s Memorial Fund for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, which provided vital care and support to Rhianna. Donations can be made via JustGiving at www.justgiving.com/Rhianna-rawding. 


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Hindle on the details below:

Kelly Hindle

D. 0161 828 1868

E. Kelly.hindle@jmw.co.uk

Note to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.

JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones. http://www.jmw.co.uk/services-for-you/clinical-negligence/

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