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Basildon hospital slammed over Amie Miller's death
3:00pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
THE parents of schoolgirl who died after a catalogue of errors at a failing hospital have described how their daughter was treated as "collateral damage".
She died from a brain condition three days later and an inquest heard the hospital missed several opportunities to save her life.
A jury returned a narrative verdict, saying that the medics had seriously failed to meet Amie's needs by failing to carry out basic checks, administering inappropriate treatment and failing to properly communicate with one another.
Speaking afterwards, Amie's family told how she was a promising student who had dreamed of becoming a paediatrician.
Stepfather Mbarek Aitmarri said: "For us there's no doubt that systematic failings caused Amie's death.
"I drove her to hospital and I ask myself everyday whether, if I had taken her to another hospital, she would still be alive."
Basildon Hospital is currently under special measures and was one of 14 named by NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh's report into abnormally high death rates.
A month ago the hospital was fined £100,000 after a court heard two patients died after a chronic outbreak of legionella.
Amie, from Stanford-le-Hope, died of encephalitis, which causes inflammation of the brain.
The origin of her condition, characterised by vomiting and flu-like symptoms, is unknown.
Doctors believed she was "on the mend" and missed signs she was deteriorating.
Dr Michel Sun Wai told the inquest: "I didn't worry too much about Amie because I believed her to be a young girl getting better."
Errors included misinterpreting the results of a CT scan and failing to carry out a MRI scan which would have identified the condition, despite one being recommended.
Basic neurological checks were not carried out and a lumbar puncture - a procedure to check the bacteria in her blood - may have been carried out inappropriately and actually exacerbated her condition.
She was also given propofol - a sedative only meant for adults - which could have masked crucial warning signs.
Mr Aitmarri said: "From the moment Amie died we faced constant evasion and were passed from one person to another.
"We feel our daughter has been treated as collateral damage and there's no real recognition of our loss.
"It has taken five years to reach this stage and, if our concerns had been addressed sooner, perhaps other people's lives could have been saved.
"Procedures have not changed in five years - the inquest heard basic neurological checks are still not carried out as standard. It is this which worries us most."
He said the family would now work with solicitors to pursue regulatory, disciplinary and criminal action against the hospital.
Amie's mother, Sonia Aitmarri, who works as a pharmaceutical technician at Basildon Hospital, spoke of her loss.
She added: "She would be 20 if she were still alive.
"She wanted to be a paediatrician and she was a promising student so we are sure she would be at university now.
"We have had to hold it together for our four other children, but we miss her every day."
A spokeswoman for the hospital said: "Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like to send its condolences to the family of Amie Miller at this difficult time.
"The Trust would also like to apologise for failings in the care provided to Amie when she was treated here five years ago.
"A number of changes have since been introduced in the treatment of children and adults with neurological illness, including the introduction of more regular observations.
"Clare Panniker, chief executive of the trust, has offered to meet with Amie’s family and this invitation remains open."
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