Girl dies after doc turns her away for being late

LONDON • A five-year-old British girl who was turned away by a doctor for being a few minutes late for an appointment died of an asthma attack that very day.

But the doctor is still practising medicine in South Wales after being given a warning following a secret disciplinary hearing, The Daily Mail reported.

Ellie-May Clark, who lived in Newport, was scheduled to see Dr Joanne Rowe at 5pm on Jan 26, 2015, after suffering an asthma attack. She had several serious asthma attacks in the past six months.

It was an emergency appointment but Dr Rowe turned the girl and her mother away because they were late.

Mrs Clark said they were four minutes late, while an official report said they were eight minutes late.

As the receptionist was busy when they arrived, it was 5.18pm when the receptionist called Dr Rowe to ask if she would see Ellie-May.

Dr Rowe said that the patient was more than 10 minutes late and turned them away.

They were told to come back to the clinic in the morning.

Another doctor at the clinic questioned the decision as it was an emergency appointment, the report said.

At 10.35pm, Mrs Clark found Ellie-May had suffered another attack and stopped breathing.

She was rushed to hospital but died.

A National Health Service report found Dr Rowe's refusal to see Ellie-May to be the "root cause" of the child's death.

The 53-year-old was issued a warning after a hearing held behind closed doors and was suspended for six months on full pay.

Ellie-May's grandmother Brandi told the Mail: "We've never even had an apology from Dr Rowe, who got away with just a slap on the wrist after her clock-watching attitude killed our beautiful girl."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2017, with the headline 'Girl dies after doc turns her away for being late'. Print Edition | Subscribe