Doctor 'laughed at' consultant plea

A junior doctor was laughed at by a senior colleague when she suggested a consultant should examine a four-year-old girl who died hours later after suffering a severe infection, an inquest has heard.

Freya Wells, from Wallington, Surrey, died at Kingston Hospital after being admitted for breathing difficulties, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Dr Hilary Towse, who was a paediatric senior house officer (SHO) at the hospital, told West London Coroner's Court today that she tried to convince paediatrics registrar Dr Rosita Ibrahim to call for a consultant in the early hours of November 22, 2012.

She also said she thought Freya should be given rapid fluids though a bolus and intravenous (IV) drugs rather than oral, but Dr Ibrahim disagreed with her.

"I specifically said that she needed to have a bolus, I specifically said that she needed to have IV antibiotics and I specifically said that she would need intensive care," Dr Towse told the inquest.

"She thought what I was saying was ridiculous," she said.

Dr Towse began to cry as she added: "I do recall that she laughed."

When asked why she did not contact the consultant herself, she replied: " It will always be something I'll regret for the rest of my life.

"It would never normally be the role of the SHO to do that. Probably I had some experiences where I've been entirely appropriate to speak to a consultant but they would not want to speak to me because I was the SHO."

Nurse Kate Lynch, who also cared for Freya at the hospital, told the hearing that she disagreed with Dr Ibrahim that the youngster should be given intravenous rather than oral antibiotics.

Richard Baker, representing Freya's family, asked her: "Are you saying on this occasion the doctor was wrong?"

Ms Lynch replied: "I felt that she should have had intravenous antibiotics."

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